Edward and Doris Bair return for Heathrow’s 2017 Christmas advert ‘It’s a Wonderful Flight’. Last year, the nation welled up as the cuddly couple came home from holiday to be reunited with their family in the London airport. This year, not even the Grinch could have held back the tears when the image of Edward, travelling alone, leads us to think the unthinkable. That is until Christmas is saved by the unsung hero, the airport steward, moving the stack of suitcases to reveal Doris and the whole family awaiting Edward’s return. The advert opens in the year 1967, showing the first time the young couple lay (glass) eyes on each other. From here, we see the relationship blossom in the face of the hardships of working life and long distance, with the pair reuniting at Heathrow’s arrivals gate every Christmas. As the family grows, so does our emotional investment, and the bears on the screen become our family, our parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters. Whether your family are across continents or across the sofa, Heathrow’s heart-warming tale of a typical, yet fairy tale-like couple will bring you and your loved ones ‘Closer this Christmas’.
However, underneath the fur and festivity, Heathrow is delivering us an important message this Christmas. According to Age UK, ‘1.2 million older people are chronically lonely’. If Doris had not been behind the suitcases, Edward may well have been part of this 1.2 million. But, not only do they return to each other every year, the rest of their family does too, despite having their own children and working lives. Due to the demands of modern life, travelling for work has become mundane and laborious and, when the long awaited holidays arrive, the last thing many of us want to do is travel all over the country, or even the globe, to visit relatives. However, the scenes that are sweeter than mince pies remind us why we travel. They remind us that the long haul is well worth what is waiting for us at the destination. Whilst the heart-breaking moment when we thought Edward was going to be alone this Christmas thankfully turned out not to be true, for many this is reality. Heathrow’s bears pull at the threads of our hearts and give us a reason to travel: to bring joy to those that need it most this Christmas.