WestJet reunites families split by the pandemic

"Christmas Miracle" returns by giving people the means to spend the holidays with those they've gone years without seeing.

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There may be no better time for one of WestJet’s “Christmas Miracles.”

For this year’s edition of the campaign, a “documentary film crew” interviewed Canadians in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver about how the pandemic impacted their holiday traditions and what they wished for the most this year. When they inevitably answered that they’d like to be able to visit family, a WestJet representative appeared to gift them tickets to help them reunite.

In some cases, that was to visit them at home, be it across the country or as far away as France, reflecting the airline’s expansion into global destinations in recent years. But in some cases, like one couple who hadn’t seen family back in the U.K. for over two years, the families were reunited during a tropical vacation. In another case, one recipient expressed her gratitude not just because of the pending reunion, but because she otherwise would not have been able to afford the flight.

Like previous “Christmas Miracles,” the campaign was led by Studio M.

This is the tenth edition of the “Christmas Miracle,” and also something of a return to form for the surprise-and-delight campaign, which has given flights and other surprises to help families and communities stay connected during the holidays. Instead of giving away flights and prizes last year, when travel and holiday gatherings were largely off the table, WestJet instead donated the supplies that otherwise would have been given to passengers on flights – amenity kits, pillows, blankets, snacks, sanitization supplies and PPE – to Canadians in need.

“The pandemic impacted everyone’s ability to connect with families and friends for far too long and we’ve truly missed celebrating those moments with our guests,” said Richard Bartrem, WestJet’s VP of brand, communications and community investment. “Hearing Canadians’ wishes, we knew we could do something meaningful given how important travel is to Canadians from coast-to-coast.”

More “Christmas Miracle” content will be rolling out later this week, including a surprise for Make A Wish, which the airline partners with for its WestJet Cares for Kids program.

In the fall, WestJet launched its campaign welcoming travellers back to the skies, focusing on how its customer service can help people overcome the blunders and missteps that come with being out of practice taking a flight.