People in Europe and the UK are booking Christmas Eve flights in their droves to NZ and Australia specifically to skip Christmas Day. Leaving on the 24th they land Boxing Day and that’s the way they like it!
So popular have Christmas-free flights become that they even have a name: “carol wingers” – those who are literally taking flight from carols and all things linked to Christmas.
Said Virgin Atlantic’s Anna Catchpole: “These are the people for whom pulling crackers and opening Christmas presents can represent the worst of all possible worlds. The pressure of Christmas can be so powerful that the only place they feel they can avoid it is at 35,000 feet heading east across the International Date Line. They know there’ll be no sing song merrily up high”
For decades, these flights were unpopular because no one wanted to miss Christmas Day. Now, however, the flights have become highly sought after – for precisely the same reason.
At first Virgin Atlantic attributed the rise to substantial discount on airfares – by avoiding Christmas passengers can save approximately £200 per person. However, customer research indicates that Carol Wingers, who have chosen to avoid Christmas, can now make up to as much as 48 per cent of each passenger list.
But the trend is also presenting Virgin Atlantic with a dilemma: should they hold Christmas celebrations on board to cheer up those passengers who will miss Christmas Day but have no option but to fly on that day? Or should they treat it as a normal flight, with little acknowledgement of the Big Day, to keep Carol Wingers happy?