As early as 1963, Santa was seen on PSA.
AND FRIENDS - An affectionate Santa Claus (crooked mustache, et. al.)
is greeted by PSA stewardess Vicky Haden (left) and Norma Birdsong as he
made one of his many appearances on Pacific Southwest Airlines'
Christmas Eve flights.It brought tears
to the eyes of an old man. A small boy immediately began listing the
toys he wanted for Christmas. And an elderly woman - half-skepically,
half-believingly - commented, "That WAS a PSA employee, wasn't it?"
were the reactions of passengers aboard Pacific Southwest Airlines'
flights Christmas Eve night as Santa Claus himself made appearances on
most of PSA's evening flights between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
to be a first in airline travel, the Santa Claus flights resulted from a
suggestion by a PSA employee, Steve Barinek of the fueling department,
to President J. Floyd Andrews. It was suggested that Santa make a brief
appearance on the flights with a simple "Merry Christmas." Andrews,
however, felt that the new innovation be expanded to include a personal
greeting and the passing of candy favors to every passenger.
officials commented that they were amazed with the response of
passengers on the special Santa Claus flights. Most natural response was
a burst of applause as Santa walked into the main cabin.
for the special flights followed a script in which a running commentary
was given that a strange object had been spotted on the aircraft's radar
screen. Minutes later, an announcement was made that a sleigh and eight
reindeer were circling the plane. And more than one passenger -
children and adults alike - promptly looked out the window
half-expecting to see Santa in his annual trek around the world.
to Santa's appearance ran the gamut from tears from elderly people to
squeals of joy from small children. One elderly gentleman in his sixties
was seen wiping away a tear as he exchanged what must have been his
first comments with Santa in nearly a half-century. One small boy
couldn;t be contained by his parents as he began to rattle off a long
list of wants to Santa - much to the delight of nearby passengers. And
the elderly woman wasn't really sure if it was Santa or not as she saw
him depart with a cheery "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good
Andrews, meanwhile, admitted negotiations were
already underway with the North Pole for a repeat performance by Santa
during subsequent PSA Christmas Eve flights.