WestJet makes Christmas miracles come true for travellers

A WestJet plane. (MARCEL CRETAIN/QMI Agency)

A WestJet plane. (MARCEL CRETAIN/QMI Agency)

JENNA MCMURRAY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

The clever Christmas surprise engineered by a Calgary-based airline soared onto social media and into the hearts of many Monday.

WestJet posted its "Christmas Miracle" video on YouTube overnight Sunday and had more than 315,000 views in the first 24 hours.

Plans for the video began in August.

Thanks to 19 hidden cameras, it detailed the travel of 250 people total on two flights to Calgary - one from Hamilton, the other, Toronto -- on Nov. 21.

Guests were greeted by Santa on a screen at the airports -- Old St. Nick even addressed them by name, thanks to the scanning of their boarding passes.

He asked passengers what they'd like for Christmas and while they rattled off their wish lists, WestJet volunteers took notes behind the scene.

"We were accumulating our list and checking it twice," said Robert Palmer, manager of public relations.

"We didn't do the naughty or nice thing - that was too much work."

As the flights took off, WestJet volunteers in Calgary worked with partners CrossIron Mills and Best Buy to gather as many of the gifts as possible.

When passengers arrived at YYC, they gathered at the baggage claim waiting for their luggage, but instead...

"What came down were all the presents, exactly what they asked for," said Palmer.

The 357 gifts ranged from socks and underwear to a snowboard and an Android tablet to a big screen TV.

Some requests weren't possible, like one for world peace, but WestJet did its best, said Palmer, noting a wish for a husband was met with a Ken doll and the dream for a new car landed one gentleman a toy version.

The airline promised when the video views hit 200,000, it would donate flights to reunite a family over Christmas through Ronald McDonald House.

The family has not yet been chosen.


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