Excited Washington Elementary School second-graders descend into a Delta Air Lines hanger-turned-North Pole at Sea-Tac Airport on Tuesday afternoon, where presents, Santa and Mrs. Claus and all kinds of goodies awaited them, courtesy of Delta Air Lines and the Seattle YMCA. COURTESY PHOTO

Excited Washington Elementary School second-graders descend into a Delta Air Lines hanger-turned-North Pole at Sea-Tac Airport on Tuesday afternoon, where presents, Santa and Mrs. Claus and all kinds of goodies awaited them, courtesy of Delta Air Lines and the Seattle YMCA. COURTESY PHOTO

Holiday In the Hangar

Delta Air Lines and Seattle YMCA team to bring Christmas to 95 Washington Elementary second-graders

An old saying has it that every cloud must have a silver lining.

But flying 95 boisterous second-graders from Auburn’s Washington Elementary School to the North Pole to meet Santa and his elves, now, there’s silver without a cloud.

OK, the kids didn’t really fly anywhere, just boarded a Delta jet that taxied about the airport for an hour with the shades down to give them the impression they were up and away.

All right, all right, the destination wasn’t really the North Pole, just a lovingly, nay, extravagantly prepared hangar at Sea-Tac Airport, tricked out to be the North Pole, where presents individually chosen for each kid waited their eager hands, courtesy of the great big hearts of Delta Air Lines, the Seattle Area YMCA, and an event called Holiday in the Hangar.

“Non-stop service to the North Pole operated by Delta Air Lines,” a wand-waving flight attendant announced to the young passengers as they boarded the special flight.

“T’was the day of holiday in all of the hangar, and all through the plane, the children were securely seated, hoping for snow instead of rain,” another flight attendant began when the commotion had died down a smidgen.

All so kids like Cruz T., could unwrap, to his grinning delight, a Nerf Gun, fully cocked and loaded.

And who was to be his first target?

“Dunno,” Cruz answered with a sly smile, indicating he knew precisely who it would be.

All so Jacob S. could relieve of their wrapping, faster than mortal eyes could track, a pair of to-build car models.

“I love it. I’m gonna start working on them when I get home. … Santa must have known that I liked these,” Jacob said.

Alonda Williams, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of the Seattle YMCA, explained the Y’s involvement.

“We’ve been partnering with Delta Air Lines for the past three years, and the goal of this day is to bring magic to the lives of children in the King County area. And when you see their faces when they open up presents and just really participate in this day, it makes it worth it,” Williams said.

“We’re about bringing opportunities to the community, and this is really a great opportunity to expose children to something they wouldn’t necessarily get to see every day,” Williams added. “Not only do they get the magic of Christmas but they also get to see, up close and personal, a flight attendant and a pilot, and to be exposed to careers they may one day consider in their futures. It has a lot of benefits for us, and we are just so grateful to Delta for its partnership.”

Kyle Ingebrigtson, general manager of Delta Air Lines’ Pacific Northwest Sales Team, said his company wants to do so much more than just fly people from Point A to Point B – it wants to be a community partner, too.

“Delta is committed to giving 1 percent of its profits back to local community organizations like the YMCA, which is one of our favorite partners. And we look for something we can do to give back to our community, and this one of the events we do throughout the year,” Ingebrigtson said. “The students here today can go meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, there’s a spot they can go to get ice cream, and there are activities they can do throughout the day.”

This boy couldn’t resist the idle engine of a Delta Air Lines jet at Delta Air Lines and the Seattle YMCA’s annual Holiday in the Hangar event, which treated 95 Washington Elementary School second-graders to a makeshift North Pole, Santa Claus and presents Tuesday afternoon at Sea-Tac Airport. COURTESY PHOTO

This boy couldn’t resist the idle engine of a Delta Air Lines jet at Delta Air Lines and the Seattle YMCA’s annual Holiday in the Hangar event, which treated 95 Washington Elementary School second-graders to a makeshift North Pole, Santa Claus and presents Tuesday afternoon at Sea-Tac Airport. COURTESY PHOTO

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