The Christmas holidays are one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Airports are bustling and flights packed in the days before and after Christmas. But much fewer people opt to travel on 25 December itself. So, who is flying on Christmas Day? And can travellers expect anything special for the occasion?
This Christmas, AFF members will be flying around Australia, across the Pacific Ocean and even to Europe. While some are travelling despite the occasion, others elected to fly on Christmas Day for the cheaper airfares and lack of crowds.
Flying on Christmas Day does have its advantages. Some airlines embrace the holiday spirit, with staff dressing up and providing special Christmas meals on board.
I flew VA PER-SYD last year in “The Business” on Christmas day lunch/afternoon flight – it was a good atmosphere (some decoration around the plane interior), and was provided roast turkey as the meal and then a mince pie and coffee later on in the flight. As soon as I had taken the last sip of my drink I was met with “would you like another one Sir?”, and when I said “yes please”, they replied with “great, as I already poured you another glass” and my empty was immediately swapped out with the drink they were carrying on the tray.
But there are also disadvantages to flying on 25 December. For those who don’t choose their own travel arrangements, it often means missing out on precious family time. Last year, one member discovered another downside after landing in London on Christmas morning. In London, there is no public transport whatsoever running on Christmas Day.
Our members feel for the countless airline staff – check-in staff, baggage handlers, pilots and many others – who have no choice but to work on Christmas Day. This includes our resident Qantas pilot jb747, who will miss Christmas entirely. He’ll depart Los Angeles on 24 December and land in Melbourne on Boxing Day!
Last year, Virgin Australia surprised its guests departing Los Angeles for Australia on Christmas Eve. The international date line stole Christmas for these passengers, so Virgin made up for it by giving everyone on board a Velocity status upgrade.
If you are flying on Christmas Day, one way to spread some holiday cheer is to hand out chocolates to the airline staff.
I did expect people at the airport to be happier but overwhelmingly, it seemed the masses are not. When doing Christmas Day flights, we hit the Lindt outleft a few days before and hand out lots of boxes of chocs to staff.
Are you flying on Christmas Day? Share your experience HERE.