We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

United "Fantasy Flight" for underprivileged children

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
28,249 posts
6 reviews
Save Topic
United "Fantasy Flight" for underprivileged children

Just saw this on FlyerTalk.

flyertalk.com/forum/united-mileageplus-conso…

A very worthy Holiday gesture. I've never heard of these before, and I wonder if other airlines do similar events.

--------

"United San Francisco is proud to announce the date of the 2012 Fantasy Flight.

United will operate a flight for over 50 special needs children and their family members on Saturday, December 1, 2012.

The children for this very worthy event come from Oakland’s Children’s Hospital, the Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, UCSF Hospital.

United coworker volunteers will create a journey to the North Pole on a short flight around the Bay Area departing from Terminal 3."

London, United...
Level Contributor
27,178 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: United "Fantasy Flight" for underprivileged children

I'm not sure but agree its a lovely thing to do. Good on them.

Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
Level Contributor
15,466 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: United "Fantasy Flight" for underprivileged children

Hi,

American does it as does Southwest among others. I know US and the former CO did it.. I'm sure DL does something on par as well..

As example:

AA:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/…

Travel Safe,

South Pole
Level Contributor
15,381 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: United "Fantasy Flight" for underprivileged children

qantas have been doing this for years.....but not fantasy, real ones

Edited: 5:33 am, November 03, 2012
Salisbury, United...
Level Contributor
7,656 posts
136 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: United "Fantasy Flight" for underprivileged children

British Airways have been doing these type of flights for at least 25 years. They have just returned from a holiday in Orlando. It's a charity called Dreamflight and is very much staff lead and they tend to take children with serious illness and life threatening conditions. TV showed them leaving on their trip, very humbling.

Singapore, Singapore
Destination Expert
for Singapore
Level Contributor
6,079 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: United "Fantasy Flight" for underprivileged children

So have Singapore Airlines which has, likewise, been doing for years for local children charities. We called it here, "flight to nowhere". Coverage in the local press. Underprivedged kids at Children's charity homes go on board, plane takes off for 1-2 hrs, they have food, fun and games, and plane comes back to same airport.

Alberta
Level Contributor
61 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: United "Fantasy Flight" for underprivileged children

I'm quite sure Air Canada and West Jet have done something similar (out of YYC), with flying to the "North Pole".

Good on airlines and organizations that let kids have these experiences-the kids will remember it forever.

USA
Level Contributor
31 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: United "Fantasy Flight" for underprivileged children

Hi

Is this for the sick and "special needs" kids from the local hospitals?

They may be underprivileged as well, but not the main criteria right?

Nice gestures from organizations I agree. Make a Wish Foundation has been giving trips to children with life threatening illnesses as well.

Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
Level Contributor
15,466 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: United "Fantasy Flight" for underprivileged children

Hi,

USSmino,

Is this for the sick and "special needs" kids from the local hospitals?

They may be underprivileged as well, but not the main criteria right?

==> Each carrier sets their own "rules" about participation.. Commonly, they use an outside, recognized entity-- like a Children's Hospital, or other entity who is a specialist in these matters.. In some cases, they partner with non-medical entities like the state Child Welfare Services or the like...

So, no, it's not necessarily limited to "sick" kids.. My experience is that they try to make space available to a cross-selection of kids; medical or not.

They do however, insure that anyone who does participate can do so safely-- for themselves as well as others; including crew & equipment-- before any invitation is made.

I've participated five times in years past.. and I will tell you that it's almost an entirely donated event.. The airline of course donates the aircraft use, and ground services..

.. and there is A LOT of 'little things" that go into putting something like this on.. Examples...

** I know the fueler donated the required Jet-A(A1) in those cases where a live flight was conducted or a live tax-out movement was planned.

** Our catering agent as well as several outside/ground restaurants donated all the F&B we used on board as well as all the F&B at the origin and North Pole (and that's a lot of stuff)

** Local businesses like arts & crafts stores donate all the decoration materials..

** We get toys and other age and case-specific gifts from other entities..

** Commonly staff members dress up in costume-- sometimes we get local personalities as well..

** We get the content providers (usually movie distribution entities) to donate the viewing rights/licenses so that we can show kids films or cartoons (remember that it's a commercial situation so licensing rules still apply)

** The airports donated (or waived) the normal slot fees that would be required with one "section" or flight..

** Airport Police usually donated the costs for the additional Police/LEO services that these kinds of events require.

I know my carrier accepts staff donations up to a set amount and matches them $1:$1 to some limit.. and these funds are pooled with other community donations and used to buy necessary materials and gifts as needed.

All the labor-- pilots, cabin crew, ground staff, flight dispatchers, etc.. we all donated our time.. and in most cases we turned away staff as we filled all the required positions...

It's not the easiest event to plan.. Since there are commonly medical issue kids on-board as well as those that may have psychological/behavioral issues, we had to have enough licensed and trained staff on-hand; both ground and in-flight, in case of any unforeseen events were to transpire..

It is a load of fun-- hard work in planning yes.. but loads of fun.. it is also (perhaps sadly so) one of the few times that labor and management work so closely together towards one unified goal.. without the usual ages-old contract/labor-versus-union issues that have long dogged US carriers...

It's a very, very long day.. but the kids just love it.. and in the end, as tired as you are it's a good tired..

Travel Safe,

Sacramento...
Level Contributor
517 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: United "Fantasy Flight" for underprivileged children

Just love this story...and so good to hear positive and happy-outlook comments - especially in this US campaign season of hate.

Thanks for brightening my day...I think I might try to see if I can volunteer at SFO.

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
35,105 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: United "Fantasy Flight" for underprivileged children

I know there is usually something similar out of JFK. I do not know which airline does it or if the plane actually takes off.