By Alison Fox
December 06, 2019
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Getting in on the holiday cheer, Virgin Australia is giving away free flights so people can spend time with friends and family for the festive season.

To enter the contest, dubbed Go Fly Me, travel junkies have to tag a friend or family member on the airline’s Instagram post and send the company a direct message telling them in “25 words or less where they are based, where you want them to travel to and why they deserve to win.”

Prospective customers can also argue why they should win the flights in order to surprise their loved ones with a visit.

The contest is open through Friday, Dec. 6, according to the airline. It was not immediately clear how many flights the airline would give away. Virgin Australia did not respond to a request for comment from Travel + Leisure.

To explain the details, Richard Branson posted a video of a conversation he had with a very special guest: Santa Claus himself. In the video, Santa is waiting at the airport to board a Virgin Australia flight to the North Pole but makes one quick call first.

“Hi Santa, how are you my old friend?” Branson asks, picking up the phone. “You must be busy, can I do anything to help?”

“I’m feeling jolly Sir Richard, it’s that time of the year,” Santa says, adding: “Well, we wanted to talk to you about a festive idea we’ve had that will connect more people together this Christmas.”

After a flight attendant details how people can nominate friends and family for the flights, Branson (who sports a particularly festive pair of elf boots) agrees.

“I love it, giving really is the best part of Christmas,” he says before asking one personal favor: “Santa, I hate to ask, but could you possibly tell me whether I’m on the naughty or nice list?”

Unfortunately for Branson, even knighted billionaires have to wait until Christmas morning for that information.

This isn’t the first move Virgin Australia has made that will ease the stress associated with holiday travel. Earlier this year, the airline became the first Australian carrier to give infants a checked baggage allowance on all domestic and international routes — and anything that makes flying with little ones easier is very much appreciated.