About 60 sons and daughters of fallen U.S. military members “flew” to the North Pole on Saturday night, courtesy of Delta Air Lines’ Polar Express Fantasy Flight at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
The children entered the airport’s ticketing area to the cheers of Delta staff and members of Charlotte’s USO chapter, received their tickets to the North Pole, went through security, and then boarded a jet that taxied around the airport on its mission to return Santa Claus to the North Pole.
Each of the children had lost a family member – a parent, in most cases – in military action.
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“This is a real thrill for me,” said Bryan Borders of Charlotte, who piloted the jet. “These kids are so excited.”
Mrs. Claus, sometimes known to friends as Delta flight attendant Kelly Guymer of Catawba County, said she was part of the project last year, when the passengers were children with serious illnesses. “Many of these kids are on a plane for the first time, and that makes it more exciting,” she said.
Amy Myers, of Greenville, S.C., boarded the jet with her children, Dakotah, 10, and Kaiden, 8. Their father, Phillip, a Huntersville native, was an Air Force sergeant killed in Afghanistan five years ago.
“The kids have never experienced anything like this before,” Myers said. “It’s so nice that they’re doing this for us.”