Christmas is a busy time for travel and should you find yourself at an airport this festive season, especially with the family, there’s a variety of merry activities and entertainment to keep everyone happy. Wego, a travel search site in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East, takes you around the world of Christmas at airports.
London Heathrow Airport
The UK’s capital airport is spreading the Christmas cheer across all terminals with select restaurants offering free meals for kids, arts and crafts, visits from Pingu, The Snowman and Peppa Pig, with Santa and his elves distributing lollies to those who have been good this year. Like something out of the Harry Potter books, Heathrow has created bespoke boiled lollies in the form of turkey, sage and onion stuffing and Christmas pudding. Aptly named Boarding Bon Bons, the Christmas pudding has hints of brandy butter, raisin and Christmas spices while the turkey with sage and onion stuffing, taste surprisingly like a Christmas meal.
Incorporating some social media into the equation and to celebrate Terminal 2’s first Christmas, a 2D vinyl Christmas tree will glow with interactive lights. Passengers can make the lights flash by Tweeting hashtag #T2Christmas.
Vancouver International Airport
Expect to be serenaded by an array of talented entertainers embracing the holiday spirit. This year you’ll hear the sounds of the Vancouver Opera, Jennifer Scott Duo, Steinway Young Artists Programme, St Andrews School Choir and Clare Brett’s Mrs Claus Musical Christmas Show to name a few. Save your gift wrapping for after you check-in and have them wrapped for free in a number of locations throughout the airport.
Singapore Changi Airport
Named the World’s Best Airport for the fifth time at this year’s Skytrax World Airport Awards, Singapore’s Changi Airport has gone all out with some rather unique Christmas activities. Changi’s Christmas Wonderland is an interactive, multi-sensory show the kids will love. It even snows for around eight minutes. Roving stiltwalkers, puppets, magic shows, jumping castles, storytelling and exquisite decorations top off meet and greets with Mickey Mouse and his friends. Apart from a German-inspired centrepiece, there’s also displays of snowy Swiss chalets (T3 transit area), traditional Japanese cottages (T2 transit area), Broadway-styled New York City (T1 transit area) as well as Spanish costumes adorned on huge Mickey and Minnie Mouse topiaries (T2 public area) at five-metres tall.
The airport also incorporates social media with a photo of you and either Mickey or Minnie Mouse plush toys tagged #CHANGIXMAS14 on Instagram, where you could win a whole lot more of them.
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
Music will fill the terminals with roaming carolers while Santa and his helpers distribute gifts and a walking Christmas tree will welcome passengers to the airport. The unique Draagbaar Radio Orkest (Portable Radio Orchestra) will amuse and entertain guests, along with the talented Jukebox Boys singing a capella. Acoustical trio Roept u maar! (Just ask us!) will roam and play any requests your heart desires from their huge repertoire.
Australia’s southern capital will glitter with decorations and digital festive artwork in both international and domestic departures. Santa will rove throughout, along with his elves who will juggle, perform magic and model balloons into all sorts of creatures. A live band will rock out the Duty Free shop to get you in the holiday mood.
Hong Kong International Airport
Taking bling to the next level, Hong Kong International Airport features a 16 metre tall Swarovski Christmas tree in Terminal 1. Spanning two levels, both arrival and departure halls, the tree is made up of over a million glittering Swarovski crystals from Austria. For the kids, ‘A Beary White Christmas’ featuring the characters from local illustrator Bigsoil, welcome holiday travellers in front of a giant Christmas box. Take a selfie with the characters and share it on your social media page with the hashtag #HKIAxmas to win daily prizes.
Surprise flash mobs of a cappella-performing local arts students will surprise passengers at pre-boarding times, Candy Crush art pieces are placed in the baggage reclaim hall, magicians from Las Vegas, Taiwan and Hong Kong and for the first time ever, a state-of-the-art light show through the departure concourse.
You can expect an authentically European Christmas tone at one of Germany’s busiest airports. From the check-in counters and beyond to the security check, you’ll be surrounded by decorations to create a truly Christmassy atmosphere.
Live music with the singing angels of ‘Engelsgleich’ and marketplaces which are a highlight during the European festive season, complete the Christmas feel. Shops, bars and restaurants will distribute treats and interactive, instant-win Christmas lotteries redeemed through the airport’s social media channels.
Los Angeles International Airport
At LAX, airlines do a lot of their own decorating, but the airport adds their own touches with decorated shuttles and musical performances by local school kids and community choirs. A feature of LAX are their popular PUPs (Pets Unstressing Passengers therapy dogs) who go throughout the terminal providing a calm distraction to the sometimes hectic pace of an airport. Over the festive season PUPs will be dressed appropriately in their colourful Christmas gear.
Technically not in the airport, but a rather unique Christmas experience no less. In Humberside, Northern England, you can take the family to search for Santa above the clouds. Santa in the Sky is a 60 minute flight for kids where they’ll receive gifts and meet Santa in-flight.
With twinkling Nordic lights, Finnair’s choir surprised passengers with a flash mob to launch the festive season in mid-November. This far north, and on Santa’s home turf, it’s not surprising that Santa is the most authentic and believable you’re likely to come across. He’ll be sharing chocolate and other treats with passengers throughout the month. Look for the freshly made mulled wine, cinnamon buns and other seasonal delicacies.
Sydney International Airport
Giving is the theme at Sydney International Airport, where they’ve joined local entertainment charity organisation, Variety, to hold a series of events to raise money for kids and families who need it most. Community partner Rotary has provided collection bins through the airport for passengers to donate to the cause, while volunteers will roam the terminals collecting donations.
A large Winter Market set up between the two terminals, will help transform the airport into a winter wonderland. The sights and smells of Christmas will waft through the air, along with live entertainment on the Airport’s dedicated ice-rink. Popular films will be shown in an open air cinema and you can slide down a 50 metre long ice slide.