Sometimes we make bets that we that regret. While losing money makes for a hum-drum story, tales of the wealthy gambling away dignity at 38,000 feet provides a new level of intrigue. Virgin’s Richard Branson and AirAsia’s Tony Fernandes made such a bet last year over Formula 1 racing. Since both individuals not only captain airlines but also back F1 teams, the wager pitted Branson’s Virgin Racing against the Fernandes owned Lotus Racing. The loser would have to cross-dress and serve as a flight attendant on the winner’s airline for one flight.
While both teams performed horribly as new entrants into the ultra-competitive Formula 1 field and tied each-other with 0 points, Lotus Racing placed higher than Virgin Racing overall. Since Branson lost, he would be the one to slip on heels and a dress for an AirAsia flight from London to Kuala Lumpur. But that is not all, the strangeness flutters away to a loonier place from there.Before the flight boards, passengers will have the opportunity to bid on shaving Richard Branson’s legs. Since AirAsia has a requirement for its flight attendants to have shaved legs, Branson will be required to make the necessary adjustments to get up to code. The proceeds of the leg shaving auction will benefit Branson’s non-profit organization Virgin Unite.
If witnessing a leg shaving auction and being served beverages by a cross-dressing billionaire is not surreal enough, the flight will also provide in air entertainment in the form of magic shows and a live band.
The flight departs London’s Stansted airport on May 1, and tickets are roughly $7,500 each. All proceeds will go towards Virgin Unite. Tickets for the 13 hour flight to Kuala Lumpur can be purchased online through AirAsia’s website.
Photography by Justin Delaney