Operation Santa Claus

Airline staff's airport flash mob springs a seasonal surprise

Cathay staff stun travellers at Chek Lap Kok with unexpected group routine, drawing a big crowd and funds for annual charity drive

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 December, 2013, 5:54am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 December, 2013, 4:34pm

As the tune of All I Want for Christmas is You rang out across the arrivals hall of Chek Lap Kok airport, several flight attendants suddenly broke into dance, springing a surprise on travellers and passers-by.

About 300 other Cathay Pacific Airways pilots, cabin crew and ground staff suddenly joined in, forming a sea of red, twisting and twirling in unison to several Christmas songs.

The festive entertainment yesterday marked the culmination of seven rehearsals in the past two weeks - including one in the middle of the night at the airport - which the dancers had managed despite their busy flying schedules.

Video: Cathay Pacific Flashmob dance

For their efforts, they drew a big crowd and donations for Operation Santa Claus.

"As more than 200 of the dancers are cabin crew members, it was difficult to get everyone on the ground at the same time to practise," cabin crew general manager Liza Ng said.

They shared practice videos online after the rehearsals, most of which took place in an indoor sports ground at Cathay City, the carrier's head office.

Then on Monday, the team held a full rehearsal in the early hours of the morning to avoid the traffic and to keep the performance a surprise.

"We had the airport all to ourselves at three in the morning. It was great fun!" Ng said.

In the spirit of fundraising for Operation Santa, about 120 cabin crew members staged a flash mob dance last year at Cathay City. This year, to spread the festive joy further, organisers moved the event to a public space at the airport.

Starting at 11am, the dancers took centre stage for eight minutes, followed by a performance of Cathay's choir, which belted out Joy to the World and other Christmas classics.

"The idea originated last year when we were trying to think of creative ways to raise funds for charity and at the same time do something that was fun with our employees," Ng said.

Fiona Fong, one of the stewardess dancers, enjoyed herself. "It was a lot of fun, like the physical education lessons back in the old days at school."

"This year, we pilots wanted to show some support too," first officer Warwick Kendall said. "The enthusiasm of all the people involved was very memorable."

The dancers also solicited donations from their families and friends, with the top 10 fundraisers among them given starring roles in the performance.

Cathay Pacific Airways became one of Operation Santa's major donors last year. The festive drive is jointly organised by the Post and RTHK.


How you can give

  • Donate online by credit card at osc.scmp.com
  • Donate at an ATM or at any HSBC branch (account number 502-676299-001 for SCMP Charities Ltd - Operation Santa Claus)
  • You can donate with a cheque payable to "SCMP Charities Ltd - Operation Santa Claus" and mail it to: Operation Santa Claus, Morning Post Centre, 22 Dai Fat Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, New Territories
  • Donations of HK$100 or more are tax-deductible. If you would like a tax receipt, please send the completed donation form and original bank receipt, with your name, address and phone number, to the above address. Please call 2680 8159 or e-mail osc@scmp.com with any inquiries, or visit us online at osc.scmp.com