One of the key pillars to creating a profitable airline is ensuring a great customer experience—not just on your digital platforms, but in real-time as well.

The Christmas holidays provide the perfect opportunity for your airline to up the ante by delivering unique and memorable experiences that set you apart from your competition. As December tends to also be the busiest time of year for travel, the experience for many passengers can be stressful-but clever airlines distract the busy chaos with holiday cheer for their customers!

Here are some of our favourite examples from around the world.

1. Alaska Airlines’ quirky Christmas celebrations

December 20th has become the most important day of the year for this airline. It just so happens that this day is National Ugly Sweater Day in America and they take the holiday very seriously. For the third straight year, any customer on any Alaskan Airlines flight that shows up for their flight wearing an ugly sweater (or Christmas themed top) gets priority boarding for the flight. But the celebrations aren’t just confined to one day—throughout the entire month leading up to Christmas their lounges serve Christmas themed beverages, such as snowflake-sprinkled lattes and peppermint mochas.


2. West Jet delivers Christmas miracles

When it comes to setting the bar high with the ultimate customer-focused Christmas celebrations, the Canadian airline West Jet is at the very top. Since 2012, they have delivered holiday cheer to customers in the most creative of ways. In 2013 they took the Christmas airline celebration scene by storm with their Christmastime Real Time Miracle, where customers told Santa what they wanted before departure and when they landed at their destination, the gifts they had requested were there waiting for them on the luggage belt! Then in 2017 they took the Christmas magic even further with their 12 Flights of Christmas, which surprised 12 different flights in 12 days with different Christmas surprises and shared the cheer for everyone to watch on Facebook Live.


3. Air Canada gives the ultimate Christmas gift

Air Canada crossed the Atlantic Ocean to ensure their fellow countrymen got the best Christmas gift of all. The Air Canada crew found a Canadian pub in London so they could hand deliver airline tickets to Canadian expats and give them the opportunity to fly home for the holidays. They truly went above and beyond in delivering the ultimate customer experience for people who weren’t yet customers of the airline, all in the name of the Christmas spirit!


4. British Airways’ Christmas flash mob

Customers on a British Airways’ flight that arrived in London received quite a delightful Christmas surprise when their cabin crew, pilots, engineers and office staff did an impromptu performance with classic Christmas carols in the Arrivals Hall. The lyrics were edited to make the classic songs personalized to British Airways and as the performance continued, more staff joined in—all wearing Santa hats.


6. LATAM flies Santa Claus

South American airline, LATAM surprised customers on a flight between Santiago de Chile to Buenos Aires with a special passenger—Santa Claus! The Spanish-speaking Santa spent the flight chatting to each and every customer on board and gave them each a Christmas present.


7. Eurowings gets super cute on Christmas

Another low-cost airline sets the example of how to give customers a high-calibre Christmas! German airline, Eurowings rolled out all the stops in the celebration by giving all their passengers branded ugly Christmas sweaters to wear on the flight, serving hot cocoa and mulled wine, singing Christmas carols and gifting everyone a $150 euro flight voucher.


8. EasyJet shines bright for Christmas

Teaming up with Luton Airport in London, EasyJet successfully put on the world’s first Christmas light show on an A320 Airbus. Their ground staff played a key role in making the festive celebration a success by wrapping the entire aircraft in 1.5 miles worth of LED lightbulbs. They then worked with ten special effect artists and lighting designers to create choreographed light sequences to Christmas music.


No matter what your budget is, there really is no excuse to not celebrate Christmas with your passengers. It is a great way to enhance your brand reputation, create a memorable customer experience and ensure that the stresses of travelling during the holidays are minimized for both staff and customers alike.

It’s the little things that make a difference between a profitable airline and a failed one, so don’t be a grinch this holiday season!