In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on the way people were able to spend Christmas. Across the globe, many people rely on air transport to travel to see their loved ones during the holiday season. But lockdowns, aircraft groundings and stringent travel controls soon put paid to most family gatherings.

As we approach the end of 2021 and owing to the success of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, some borders are beginning to re-open, which means that passengers can take-off once again this holiday season.

And what better way to spread holiday cheer than through cleverly targeted aviation campaigns? From the heart-warming to the hilarious, AeroTime shares the best aviation Christmas adverts, guaranteed to get you in the festive mood. 

Air New Zealand, ‘A Magical Delivery’ (2021)

Air New Zealand has been consistent with producing its fair share of Christmas crackers. Once again, the flag carrier of Aotearoa has managed to deliver the festive goods with its latest festive advert ‘A Magical Delivery’.

The advert features Santa as he is told he can't get into Aotearoa this year. After going through a list of famous Kiwis (including one Australian and one fictitious character), Saint Nick calls on the help of the national carrier to help solve his “little cargo situation” and deliver a mound of presents to children across the country. 

Now, we could write an entire list dedicated to Air New Zealand’s inventive and witty Christmas adverts through the years, but we wanted to make space for other airlines. Both the 2020 and 2017 festive offerings from the Air New Zealand feature on our list. But if you’d like to watch more video clips from the carrier’s Christmas Past (and we thoroughly indorse a peak at its festive back catalogue), then we recommend ‘A Very Kiwi Christmas' from 2015 and ‘The Nicest Christmas Ever’ (aka. the one that features a mini-Donald Trump).

Loganair, ‘Logie and Lottie’ (2021)

The first ever Christmas advert from Scottish regional airline Loganair is a real festive treat. Following the story of two lost bears as they are reunited, Loganair’s yuletide offering is reminiscent of a John Lewis advert (the UK-based retail giant known for its wonderful and, at times, sentimental Christmas adverts).

The advert stars Loganair Captain Lionel McClean and his wife Linda, a senior ground and in-flight trainer, who help to bring lost bears, Logie and Lottie, back together for Christmas.

It’s certainly a heart-warming tale, guaranteed to turn any Scrooge into a festive elf.  

And that’s not all. To celebrate the story of Logie and Lottie’s reunion, Loganair is giving a family the chance to reconnect with their loved ones this Christmas. To enter the competition, head to Loganair’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (@FlyLoganair), to tell the airline their own hopes for reuniting this Christmas.

Air New Zealand's, ‘Twas the Flight Before Christmas’ (2020)

In 2020, the team at Air New Zealand decided to use its Christmas campaign to underline the true meaning of Christmas. With Santa Claus at its side, the flag carrier of Aotearoa surprised 10 Kiwi children and their whānau with a magical plane ride and the gift of free flights to visit loved ones anywhere in the country. 

Christmas during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 was a rather subdued affair, so the festive offering from Air New Zealand, and the reaction of the elated children and their families, was even more poignant. A real festive treat!  

Ryanair, ‘A Very Ryanair Christmas’ (2018)

Deemed as ‘budget as its fares’ by several media outlets, Ryanair’s 2018 advert, which was made in-house, was an extremely funny pan-European campaign.

The one-minute advert, called ‘A Very Ryanair Christmas’, shows two children excitedly running downstairs to open their Christmas gifts. The gifts turn out to be Ryanair vouchers. While not quite the traditional presents that we are used to finding under the Christmas tree, they seem to go down well the kids. 

Heathrow Bears Christmas TV Advert (2017)

In 2017, Heathrow Airport produced what was probably one of its most popular marketing campaigns. While it was not Mr. and Mrs. Bear’s first appearance, it was certainly the advert that garnered the most attention – and managed to pull at the heartstrings of a nation already obsessed with the annual battle to secure the title of Best Christmas Advert.

Fans even took to social media to state that the advert had reduced them to tears.

Mr. and Mrs. Bear were first introduced in 2016, when the two elderly bears were travelling though the airport to be reunited with their families over the festive season. In 2018, the bears returned for a third festive instalment, which sees the furry couple, presumably retired and now living abroad, video calling family, before boarding a flight to surprise loved ones back in the UK.  

But back to the 2017 advert! Here, we find out how Mr. and Mrs. Bear first met. We are taken back to 1967 when the couple met on a plane where Mr. Bear was flying for business and Mrs. Bear (before she was married) was an air hostess. Mr. Bear leaves his hat and jacket on the plane and the air hostess brings it out to him just before he must leave the runway on a bus.

What follows is a gloriously sentimental montage of significant moments in the couple’s relationship, including a long-distance relationship and jobs that travel overseas. Most of the advert takes place in the arrivals lounge at Heathrow and depicts the Bears every-growing and changing family through the years (look out for the adorable baby bears).

Like all good love stories, there are a few twists and turns (no more so than a particularly heart-wrenching few minutes at the end of the advert) but, overall, Heathrow have managed to create a wonderful Christmas advert. 

Air New Zealand, ‘A Very Merry Mistake’ (2017)

The 2017 offering from Air New Zealand (accompanied by the extremely clever hashtag #mirrychrismus) is a real comic treat.

The Kiwi accent, where vowels can often sound mixed-up, can often be confusing for the rest of the world to decipher. So, it’s no wonder that Father Christmas might also struggle to take gift orders from Kiwi children.

We watch as a perplexed Santa Claus attempts to process orders coming in from New Zealand, and relay them to an increasingly frustrated team of elves. Santa’s workshop is busy creating an ‘earplane’ ‘a book of magic trucks’ and even a ‘biscuit-ball’, before finally calling time on the farcical gift making. Luckily, Santa’s helpers know just who to call and, just like magic, a team from Air New Zealand arrives to translate the orders and save Christmas.