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Unites Airlines brings North Pole to SoCal

A Christmas surprise for dozens of underprivileged kids. They boarded a flight to the North Pole, thanks for United Airlines.

December 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
There was a Christmas surprise for dozens of underprivileged kids. They boarded a flight to the North Pole, thanks to United Airlines.

Kids from the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services and people with special needs from the South Bay Vocational Center hopped aboard United Flight Santa 18 to visit Santa Claus.

"It's very special because these kids are so special," said Capt. Grant Sullivan. "This is a really big day for them. A lot of them had a tough time over the years and this is a special celebration for that."

About 150 kids were on board, ready with their wish lists to give to Santa at his workshop. And they have all been verified as being on the "nice" list this year.

"Santa Claus will be at the North Pole waiting for them and Mama Claus," said Adriana "Elf" Durnad. "It's just very special for them."

Sullivan says that he wants to give these special passengers, who are struggling this holiday season, a flight they'll never forget.

"The North Pole is a little further than we can go today, so we are going to take off and fly for about an hour," said Sullivan. "The crew will just be building their expectations, because when we arrive we are going to arrive at the North Pole, but coming back to a gate that is decorated."

Sullivan said that Santa Claus will be at the gate, as well as a fire brigade stocked with hoses and water cannons.

"They are just priceless kids, we love them," he said.

Sullivan said these kids are great reminders that we all can still dream and believe in the spirit of Christmas.