Sir Richard Branson Serves as Flight Attendant in AirAsia X’s Charity Flight

May 12, 2013 - What are the chances that on the day we were flying back to Manila would be the perfect moment AirAsia would hold a press conference in Malaysia’s Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) airport?! Our group of bloggers, which was waiting for our ZestAir flight earlier today, had a chance of a lifetime by being invited to cover an international media event!

A special AirAsia X charity flight, which left Perth, Australia this morning landed amidst fanfare because one of their flight attendants happened to be Virgin Group founder and chairman Sir Richard Branson. The very game and flamboyant entrepreneur earned his stripes as an air hostess when he honored a friendly wager after losing a bet with AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes.

Two years ago, Sir Richard and Mr. Fernandes betted on which one of their Formula One racing teams would finish ahead of each other in their debut season of the 2010 Formula One Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. The loser would have to serve as a female flight attendant on board the winner’s airline. Mr. Fernandes’ team finished two spots above Sir Richard’s team in the final rankings.

It was very amusing to witness firsthand that Sir Richard, indeed, shaved his legs and slipped into a sexy red suit, complete with red shoes and black handbag, before taking to the skies. He spent the five and a half hour journey pouring coffee or tea, serving meals, distributing goodies, entertaining and making in-flight announcements for the lucky guests and international media. The flight helped to raise money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, where AirAsia X will be contributing AUS$100 from each seat sold.

Adorned with false eyelashes and lipstick, Sir Richard can now add AirAsia flight attendant to his long list of credentials, which includes entrepreneur, visionary, knight, and adventurer.

“Sir Richard graduated as a member of the AirAsia cabin crew with flying colors and he performed all his in-flight duties with his usual good-humor and enthusiasm,” described Mr. Fernandes. “[He] is truly a great sport and AirAsia is pleased to be able to contribute to those in need through this charity flight.”

According to Sir Richard, this has been a real first for him. “I have enjoyed the experience and I have nothing but respect for what our fabulous flight attendants do every day to keep us safe. I am also grateful to have had Tony, whom I lost the bet to, willingly help me out on the flight. I trust we kept the passengers well-fed and amused. It was a lot of fun.” He added that he is a man of his word and was happy to have finally honored the bet and contribute to a great charity along the way.

The airline will also donate 10% of all inflight sales, including duty free merchandise, sold on board the flight to the foundation. Through a “Tweet2Donate BIG” social media campaign, AirAsia BIG loyalty program also aims to garner 1 million BIG points from its members, equivalent to MYR10,000 (AUD3200) to be channeled to the Starlight Children Foundation, which was established in 1988. In celebration of its 25th anniversary this year, Starlight continues to be dedicated in brightening the lives of seriously ill and hospitalized children, and their families, around Australia.

We heard that Sir Richard prepared for his new role last night by publicly shaving his legs during a cocktail event in Perth. Other activities were carried out throughout the evening to further raise funds. The revelry ended at the LCCT in Kuala Lumpur where a brief ceremony took place. There, Mr. Fernandes handed Sir Richard an AirAsia cabin crew graduation certificate and literally showered him with champagne as part of the airlines’ gratitude to him for being such a good sport.

“Aviation history has been made and the memory will definitely last a lifetime!” exclaimed Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X. “Watching Branson serving Tony on board was indeed hilarious knowing that the former was Tony’s mentor in the past. Justice has now been served for the both of them. What’s more exciting is the fact that both share similar values in character; determination, grit, and passion in what they do.”

“This also proves that anything is possible when you set your heart [on something] and doing it for a good cause gives it a more meaningful feel. We hope that our contribution would further improve the lives of the children of the Starlight Foundation,” concluded Mr. Osman-Rani.

AirAsiaX, together with the AirAsia Group, the leading and largest low-cost carrier in Asia, services the region’s most extensive network with over 85 destinations across 20 countries.

Jointly with the AirAsia Group, AirAsia X was named World’s Best Low Cost Airline in the annual World Airline Survey by Skytrax for four consecutive years in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. AirAsiaX was also awarded the Airbus Top Operational Excellence Award 2010-2011 in the small fleet category excelling in operations, maintenance, and safety systems.

Philippine Online Media Group 
The following companies sponsored what Sir Richard wore:

HPE Clothing incorporated HPE’s intelligent compression FRESHFIT fabric for the Compression Top uniform which was engineered to regulate blood flow, body temperature, and muscular fatigue to combat the high levels of stress placed on the body while flying.

Red Label Tailoring Sdn Bhd for the Red Uniform and Zng Impressa ( by designer Jonathan Wong for the Cabin Crew Shoes.

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