The great Christmas getaway has begun with some 116,700 passengers expected to take off from Heathrow in one day.
As children finish the last day of term and adults put on their out of office message at work, more than 698,000 people will travel to join their families across the globe over the next seven days.
From December 19 through to Christmas Day more than five million people will make their journey from UK airports and to mark the occasion Heathrow have created an video to show the movement including a special journey from the North Pole as Santa and his reindeer deliver presents on Christmas Eve.
Normand Boivin, Chief Operating Officer at Heathrow said, “Heathrow is proud to help take passengers further on their journey around the world for the festive season. This is such a busy and exciting time at the airport and the visualisation captures the service we provide for the world.”
Festive cheer has been spreading at Heathrow’s terminals since the beginning of the month with T2 celebrating its first Christmas with a 2D interactive vinyl Christmas Tree which lights up when passengers tweet using #T2Christmas.
Merriment will continue during the mass getaway week with plenty of festive treats in store from airside passenger ambassdors handing out chocolates to children to arts and crafts activities across the terminals where staff will help passengers make everything from gift tags to Christmas cards.
Children will also have the chance to meet some of their favourite winter characters including Pingu and The Snowman as well as the much-loved Peppa Pig, plus Santa and his elves will be making fly-by visits to the terminals to give out sweets.
Carol singers from The Christmas Carol Company will raise the roof with performances across departures and arrivals.
And on December 25, just over 100,000 passengers are due to travel through the airport of which 16,677 will be in the air just before the Queen addresses the nation.
This year, Heathrow will also make sure festive flyers don’t miss out on the traditional lunch and will be treated to special turkey, sage and onion stuffing and Christmas pudding boiled sweets – Boarding Bon Bons – at 30,000ft.
The sweets will also be handed out to passengers flying across all five terminals on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.
Mr Boivin added: “We wanted to bring to life the warm and exciting feeling everyone gets on December 25th and what better way to make sure flyers don’t miss out on the most exciting moment of the day than by recreating the quintessential Christmas dinner.
We tried a number of different flavour combinations, including cranberry sauce, mince pies and honey glazed carrots, but found that turkey, sage and onion stuffing and Christmas pudding really evoked the taste and sentiment of Christmas.”
For passengers who enjoy a spot of shopping or need a last minute gift, shops will be open throughout the festive period.
This month, new to Terminal 5 are designer Louis Vitton opening their first European airport store and iconic British retailer Fortnum & Mason’s first airport shop which carries hampers, teas and jams as well a savoury counter selling smoked salmon and caviar.