NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Next stop, the North Pole.

Some children who spend a lot of their time in the hospital got an express ticket to Santa’s workshop to meet the man himself.

The United Airlines ticket counter at Newark Liberty Airport was hopping Wednesday morning. Checking in were some very special travelers on Fantasy Flight 1751 bound for the North Pole.

“I think I’m going to have fun,” Shaniyah McNeill told CBS 2’s Alex Denis.

Nearly 40 deserving children and teens — all dealing with health problems at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and University Hospital — anxiously awaited a visit to Santa and a day filled with magic.

For parents, the North Pole experience was a much-needed escape from the daily grind.

“It’s awesome. It’s just like a break from everything because she was actually in the hospital last week,” Ameerah Ewell said.

And the special guests agreed.

“They didn’t have to do this for us, so just give them a big thank you,” McNeill said.

And with one final wave and a goodbye kiss, the holiday spirit truly took flight.

For many of the children, it was their first time on a plane.

The express flight to the North Pole took the children 30 minutes and when their plane landed, Santa was waiting with a sack full of gifts.

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