As is customary, the Gardermoen Airport Express Train won’t charge you a ticket if you are (or claim to be) Santa Claus.
One of Norway’s newest Christmas customs makes a welcome comeback this week. Between December 22nd and 26th, the Airport Express Train (known in Norway as Flytoget) going to and from Oslo Airport will be absolutely free of charge.
That is, if you follow this one essential rule:
“Put on a Santa hat when you board, wear it throughout your ride and through the turnstiles”, says Flytoget’s head of marketing Anne-Signe Fagereng.
“It’s not like you can scan the Santa cap at the turnstiles, but we have people in place as well as watchmen who are all letting people through special gates set up for the occasion.”
When the Santa loophole for travellers was first announced a few years ago, the stipulations were somewhat stricter. A good cheer was a definite requirement, along with a Santa beard.
In later years, these rules have softened, especially when it comes to beards.
“We’re not strict on style. This is an offer that goes out to Santa ladies, Santa hipsters, traditional Santas and Santa kids. Now, kids do travel free anyway, but a Santa hat is always fun to wear around Christmas time,” Fagereng says.
“Has the requirement of a good cheer also been cast aside?”
“You should be nice, but you don’t need to practice any particular Santa moves. Everyone is nice in their own way.”
Even though the tradition has now been going for a few years, most of the passengers travelling with the Airport Express Train are still paying customers.
According to Fagereng, the Santa tradition is mostly spread through word of mouth, often by regular passengers who follow the company’s newsletters and Facebook page.
“But people do get in touch to ask whether we’ll keep it up this year as well. And they tell their friends who are travelling around Christmas time.”
For passengers travelling on the Airport Express Train with or without Santa hats this Christmas, Fagereng has an important reminder:
Schedules will change on Christmas Eve.
The Airport Express Train departs to and from Oslo Airport with a 20 minute frequency
Last arrival to Oslo Airport is 3.22 PM CET
Last departure from Oslo Airport is 3.50 PM CET
First arrival to Oslo Airport is 9.02 AM CET
First departure from Oslo Airport is 9.30 AM CET
Hourly departures after this until
Last arrival to Oslo Airport at 8.02 PM CET
Modern conveniences have made it much easier to get around in Norway. These days, trains, boats, roads, and a network of small airports are all making it quite practical to see any part of the country.
This steep Flåm railway ride may be the prettiest VR experience we’ve seen.