United 'Fantasy Flight' takes kids to the North Pole

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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A.J. Ross has the details on the whimsical journey to the North Pole.

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- Imagine your wildest dreams taking flight, and fantasy becoming real. As part of United Airlines annual holiday "Fantasy Flight," dozens of kids from Beth Israel Hospital, University Medical Center and Trinitas Hospital enjoyed a whimsical journey all the way to the North Pole.

With teddy bears and passports in tow, they took to the skies Wednesday morning with a singing Christmas tree, elves, candy and snacks.

United employee Terrence Burr signed up to volunteer this year, but he first took the flight two years ago with his daughter, who is battling leukemia.

"Going through this, it's something hard," he said. "It's draining, so I wanted to give back. All it takes is one day, and to give them hope and a day like this gives the kids a lot of hope."

The 45-minute flight departed from Newark Liberty International Airport and landed at the North Pole, where Santa Claus was waiting with open arms.

For several parents whose children have had to endure so much at early age, this experience was a special type of medicine.

"These children have been very ill, going to doctors, getting IVs, getting needles," said Marilyn Harris, vice president of community relations for Beth Israel Hospital. "It's a wonderful, marvelous opportunity for them to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Our physical healing is also influenced by how we feel emotionally, and spiritually, yes, this medicine to the soul."