Thanksgiving Eve is notorious as the busiest travel day of the year for Americans. This year, lucky travellers arriving at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Thanksgiving Eve had the opportunity to hit the jackpot with Zappos. The online retailer and JCDecaux USA transformed Houston airport’s baggage reclaim carousel into a mock Wheel of Fortune-type game, adding fun and suspense to a creative airport campaign.

The “Zappos roulette” allowed passengers to win prizes such as gift certificates, Ugg boots, North Face jackets, Kitchen-Aid mixers… all based on whatever prize their luggage landed on, so when suitcases arrived onto the rotating belt, their owners could win a prize. Within the first hour, this campaign went viral on many US media outlets such as USA Today and Business Insider, and various social media channels such as Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook.

After Thanksgiving in the United States, the Christmas period is always a good opportunity to operate original marketing campaigns, and airports being extremely busy with many passengers travelling worldwide, it is the perfect time for some special events. WestJet, an airline based in Canada, decided to surprise their passengers with the WestJet Christmas Miracle. Departing passengers who scanned their boarding pass on a gift box were greeted by a live Santa Claus, who appeared in a screen on the gift box. Santa asked them what they wanted for Christmas; meanwhile off-screen, WestJet staff made a note of their wishes. What passengers did not know was that their requests were recorded and their gifts would be waiting for them at their arrival airport!

On top of this, the airline promised to donate flights to families and children in need this holiday season if the video hit 200,000 views… a video now viewed more than 30 million times on YouTube.

In December 2010, the airline company KLM created a similar campaign, surprising passengers waiting to board their plane with personalised gifts.

SpainAir also ran a campaign for Christmas 2010 that surprised the 190 passengers who flew with the company on the 24th of December.