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This year's 30th Anniversary of Virgin Atlantic combined with the launch of the airline's snazzy new Vivienne Westwood-designed uniforms means more than just partytime in the skies on VS; these milestones will also bring about a revamped beauty and grooming guide for the already fresh and polished Virgin crew.
You see, when a new hire receives their uniform, they're also handed a Virgin-produced book titled Runway. It's essentially a guide to the "Virgin Atlantic look" regarding how to wear the uniform, suggested hair styles, and the like. It's meant for maintenance employees, gate agents and Clubhouse staff just as much as for cabin and flight crew, but the pages dedicated to the minutiae of a flight attendant's jet setting lifestyle are among the most enlightening.
Runway is right now in the process of being updated, but there are some choice sections worth preserving for all.
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The Virgin Atlantic look is sharp, iconic, sizzling; there’s no denying the head-turning appeal of a crisp white blouse tucked into a scorching red pencil skirt, topped off with red heels. But, with the celebration of the airline’s 30th Anniversary this year, it’s about that time for a snazzy refresh so as to continue “flying in the face of ordinary,” as the airline’s slogan goes. For this, Virgin Atlantic paired with UK designer and punk powerhouse Vivienne Westwood. The new uniforms were just unveiled July 1 in London, and will roll out for all Virgin Atlantic staff, from cabin crew to flight crew, and desk agents to Clubhouse hospitality.
Alas, a flash of the new uniform as it swishes down the airplane aisle isn't enough to appreciate the detail. Aside from the fact that it’s now easier to care for with a new tech “nano finish" (the earlier uniform was dry clean only) and yarn made from recycled plastic bottles, there are small secrets hidden in every dart and under each lapel, telling the story of the collaboration between England’s flag-carrying airline and one of the country's most iconic fashion influences.
Although the uniforms don’t officially take flight for the entire Virgin Atlantic fleet until September 1, keep an eye out for a preview on your next VS flight; crew have been heading to the airline’s Base near Gatwick Airport to pick up their full looks since this past weekend. Here's what to look for:
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We have been following the goings-on from the folks over at Virgin Galactic for quite some time, and it seems like only a matter of time before tickets are offered up for sale and passengers head towards the great beyond.
Things are getting one step closer, as Virgin Galactic recently submitted all kinds of paperwork and presentations to Uncle Sam and his buddies over at the Federal Aviation Administration. Thankfully everyone seems to be onboard with the plan, and that means we’re one step closer to taking off into outer space.
Planes, trains, and space ships are already a reality for Virgin, and if Richard Branson gets his wish, a cruise line will be next.
Currently, only three companies, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian, control 80% of the global market when it comes to cruising, prompting Branson to believe that he can come in and compete by doing things differently. Though specific details are slim, Branson told The National that his line would be based in Miami and "supply the Virgin touch" while offering "more entertainment and leisure opportunities on board the ships."
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Virgin America has always been the US' new little airline that could, and the intrepid company has fought for every bit of cool cache they carry, helped along by introducing many "firsts."
For example, Virgin America was the first airline to produce a flight attendant-based TV show, the first airline with an advanced seatback entertainment system including food and beverage ordering functions, the first to fly nonstop between New York and Palm Springs, the first to film a movie completely on scheduled flights, and the first airline to do Instagram promotions. Now they can tack another first onto this impressive list: that of creating the first in-flight social network.
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You know we like to follow the goings on of Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin Galactic project, and now we’ll be able to do from the comfort of our couch. Virgin Galactic is teaming up with the mastermind behind shows like Survivor and The Voice—Mark Burnett—to launch a reality show to give away a ride into space.
Details are limited at this point, but we’d imagine that things would follow the basic premise of pretty much all reality shows. Unique personalities, wacky competitions, and plenty of drama should lead to a show worthy of a spot on our DVR. We do know that the show will be called "Space Race," and the big winner will get a ride aboard SpaceShipTwo.
It's crazy to think that Spaceport America, the middle-of-nowhere New Mexico base for Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, has already been open for just over two years. We may not yet have regular flights to space, but while that day grows nearer the public is very welcome to come have a look around.
The Spaceport, located in the Chihuahuan Desert 150 miles south of Albuquerque, actually offers public tours aimed at "giving guests an up close look at the spaceflight facilities before operations begin." The tours have grown so popular that the tour operators, Follow The Sun Inc., have changed the pick-up point to a more central location (The Holiday Inn, with free breakfast!) in the hot springs town of Truth or Consequences.
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"You're on the list."
Unless they're referring to the TSA's No-Fly List, that little sentence may bring big things if you're flying Virgin Atlantic from one of the airline's seven destinations in the US or UK.
The "Guest List" program is now available (for a price) to all Virgin Atlantic travelers, sharing the perks once solely reserved for Upper Class flyers with those seated in Economy or Premium Economy. It's essentially a fast track to VIP treatment without having to pay the premium airfare of an Upper Class ticket, from only $384 per person or $544 per couple (traveling in the same car).
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Earlier this year, we delved into the world of pet travel fees on airlines, a topic not much discussed but a frequent cause of concern for travelers with animals.
In the US, there are a few airlines that stand out when it comes to pet travel; Virgin America has a "pet liaison" named Boo and JetBlue awards 300 frequent flyer miles for every one-way flown with your fuzzy friend.
Abroad, any perks of pet travel are nearly non-existant, with the exception of what Air New Zealand is now calling "Australia's first Pet Frequent Flyer Program."
There's something special about imbibing while in transit, but trains always seem to get a bad rap when it comes to beverages, perhaps because dining cars aren't always the most appetizing places to pop a tab. Virgin Trains understands, and though passengers on their high-speed lines around England can always enjoy a complimentary gin & tonic in First Class, the company is now offering a special beer called "Tilting Ale."
The brew, a Virgin beer that's not a "virgin" beer, is a partnership between Virgin Trains and Redwillow Brewery in Macclesfield, Cheshire. It's available now, costs only £2.95 a bottle, and comes with an appropriate flavor description:
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Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.
The year was 1984 and the place was London-Gatwick International Airport. A 747-200 named "Maiden Voyager" taxied on the tarmac for a virgin flight to Newark, on a virgin airline. The airline's name? Virgin, or, well, Virgin Atlantic.
Virgin's flight attendants weren't yet known for their cherry red lips, or their scarlet pencil skirts and chic up-dos, but they were on their way.
Fast forward to today, as Virgin Atlantic continues to fly 747sthe fleet and destination list are much larger nowand they're again ready to show a fresh face with new flight crew uniforms designed by Vivienne Westwood.
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Right now, somewhere in Malaysia, a red skirt is being tailored to fit Sir Richard Branson.
On May 12, Branson will join Air Asia Group CEO Tony Fernandes on a flight from Perth, Australia to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The six-hour trip is a special one, as it's finally the moment Sir Richard makes good on a bet he lost to Fernandes in late 2010, over whose Formula One race team would be ranked higher. Spoiler alert: Fernandes' Lotus Racing team won over over that of Virgin, and the plans to install Branson as a flight attendant on an Air Asia X flight began.
The event has been delayed many times, but finally seats are now for sale from $399 AUD ($420 USD) on the special, one-way flight, and may be purchased online. Be sure to book AirAsia X’s flight D7 237 on Sunday, May 12.