Branson to work as air hostess on AirAsia flight

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR - Virgin Atlantic boss Richard Branson will don a striking red skirt and play a stewardess on a rival airline AirAsia flight after he lost a bet with the company’s owner.

Branson lost a friendly bet to AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes as his Formula One Virgin Racing team ended behind Lotus Racing in the overall team rankings.

“We want him to shave his legs. We are going to try and get him to shave his legs and wear some make-up,” The Star quoted Fernandes, the Indian-origin chief of the Malaysian budget airline, as saying Wednesday.

If Richard is sporting, so is Tony. He is prepared to make a concession to his British friend as he seeks his pound of flesh.

“But we will leave his moustache alone as it is his trademark,” said Fernandes, who is the Lotus Racing team principal and AirAsia Group chief executive.

Branson, who has already received his AirAsia badge and uniform for the Kuala Lumpur-London charity flight, has been a good sport about the whole deal, added Fernandes.

The budget airlines owners had wagered the friendly bet at the start of the Formula One (F1) season in March.

Although neither won the race, Lotus Racing finished 10th while Virgin Racing came in last (12th).

Both Branson and Fernandes are big names in the world of civil aviation. Both are knighted in their respective countries. If Branson is Sir Richard, Fernandes has the Malaysian equivalent, Datuk Seri.

The Malaysian media and the online world have been abuzz about the bet, with blogs, Twitter and news portals worldwide picking up on the result of the wager.

The excitement is fuelled further by the fact that Fernandes said Branson would be expected to wear high heels during the flight and perform tasks like any other crew member, including cleaning the toilets, the newspaper said.

A nervous Branson was looking for loopholes to get out of shaving his legs, one report said.

The date of the Kuala Lumpur-London AirAsia flight has yet to be set, but seats will be auctioned off and the money given to Branson’s chosen charity.

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