HOUSTON - On Saturday, United Airlines flew dozens of children and their families to the "North Pole" to receive gifts from Santa Claus and participate in other holiday themed activities.

More than 60 children were included, all of whom are patients at M.D. Anderson, Shriners Hospital and the U.T. Mitochondrial Center of Excellence.

The flight took off and landed at a gate at Bush Intercontinental Airport. It was transformed into the special destination, where Santa and his helpers waited with gifts and activities for the guests.

“It’s a real pleasure,” said John Watson, a senior manager with United. “It is a promotion of family, faith, hope. It’s really hard to see these children, especially the young ones.”

Isiah Gitchel, 6, is one of the dozens of children who shared in the fantasy experience. It’s Gitchel’s third United Fantasy Flight.

“I was really hoping this year, because he was in the hospital for over 100 days,” explained mom Karen Federwisch.

United Airlines has been flying to the “North Pole” for more than 20 years. This year, 13 flights, some of which are happening internationally, will give kids a break.

“This is our way of being able to give back and help out,” said Watson.