Get the kids out of the room please; I'm about to rip the cover off some explosive Christmas myths, and I won't be responsible for any tears.
Like when I reveal that reindeer can't fly.
Or…can they? Let me tell you how to nearly duplicate the seemingly impossible feat of reindeer round-the-world travel, and maybe I'll actually have some good news for the kiddos, and for anyone else who loves to fly.
Here are the six myths of Christmas travel versus the reality for today's fliers. And as that noted air travel expert Margo Channing once said, "Fasten your seatbelts - it's gonna be a bumpy night!"
Myth 1: Reindeer Can't Fly
No, they can't. They are excellent swimmers, but flight? Not so much. So they can't go around the world and neither can Santa. But you can.
It may take you weeks or months but it can be done and on a single airline ticket, too. I mean those "round the world" airfares which can be purchased from some of the larger carriers or from an airline alliance like OneWorld (and there are others).
Rules vary but typically you must fly continuously in one direction from continent to continent, and OneWorld limits round-the-world travelers to 16 flight segments. It's not cheap, but it's cheaper than figuring it out on your own, airline by airline -- and it's a priceless experience.
Myth 2: Time Doesn't Stand Still on Christmas Eve
In Santa's world, time must stand still; how else to explain how he hits every house on the face of the earth during the night before Christmas? You got me.
On the other hand, time does occasionally stand still for us fliers when you're trapped on a tarmac for hours waiting for your plane to take off. Fortunately, this year the Department of Transportation instituted a new rule that prevents airlines from keeping passengers stuck on planes for more than three hours, and you know something? It's working.
Myths of Christmas
Myth 3: Santa Can't Slide Down a Chimney
From the looks of things, Southwest Airlines would probably classify Santa as a "passenger of size" and insist he buy two seats on their planes so no, I don't see him sliding down any chimneys with ease.
But might I suggest he try an airplane emergency chute? JetBlue flight attendant Steve Slater paved the way by sliding down an aircraft chute for a quick exit, and it might work well in Santa's line of work, too.
Myth 4: As Pilot, Santa is King
We know this can't be true, not if Santa ever has to go through airport security. He might have sympathized with that ExpressJet pilot who refused to undergo a TSA body scan imaging machine.
By Thanksgiving outrage was mounting over the scans and pat-downs (I sure wasn't thrilled by the pat-down I endured), and ultimately it was decided that pilots would not have to undergo this particular security enhancement.
Score one for the airline captains -- and Santa.
Myth 5: Santa is Fee-Free
Actually, I think this myth is true, but it sure doesn't apply to the airlines. They made $4.3 billion in the first three quarters of the year on fees -- and the year's not over yet. Plus, those billions only represent checked-bag fees and ticket change fees; the revenue doesn't include fees for early boarding, roomier seats or snacks and blankets.
I guess with no bag fees, you'd have to call Santa the Southwest of jolly old elves.
Busting Santa Myths
Myth 6: Santa Lives at the North Pole
If he does, he resides in an underground bunker, because no one's ever seen him there. I like to think he takes it easy most of the year, enjoying the balmy weather of the Caribbean.
One famous flier does, another jolly guy named Richard. In fact, this Branson fellow has his own private island in the British Virgin Islands, which probably explains why he's so jolly. From what I've read, it can accommodate something like 26 guests in top-of-the-line luxury, so maybe there's room for you too, Santa.
And may I just add a personal note to all you fliers out there: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and safe travels always.