Sir Richard Branson Applauds Airline Complaint Letter

Sir Richard Branson
Paul Kane, Getty images

Sir Richard Branson, the self-made billionaire of Virgin fame, must have some spare time these days. The business mogul has taken it upon himself to applaud a humorous airline complaint letter that went viral. Written by tennis pro Arthur Hicks, the sarcastic letter thanks Caribbean carrier LIAT for taking him on a tour of the islands.

Dear LIAT,

May I say how considerate it is of you to enable your passengers such an in-depth and thorough tour of the Caribbean.

Most other airlines I have travelled on would simply wish to take me from point A to B in rather a hurry. I was intrigued that we were allowed to stop at not a lowly one or two but a magnificent six airports yesterday. And who wants to fly on the same airplane the entire time? We got to change and refuel every step of the way!

I particularly enjoyed sampling the security scanners at each and every airport. I find it preposterous that people imagine them all to be the same. And as for being patted down by a variety of islanders, well, I feel as if I’ve been hugged by most of the Caribbean already.

I also found it unique that this was all done on “island time,” because I do like to have time to absorb the atmosphere of the various departure lounges. As for our arrival, well, who wants to have to take a ferry at the end of all that flying anyway? I’m glad the boat was long gone by the time we arrived into Tortola last night – and that all those noisy bars and restaurants were closed.

So thank you, LIAT. I now truly understand why you are “The Caribbean Airline.”

P.S. Keep the bag. I never liked it anyway.

Branson himself is no stranger to airline grievances. He once received what many regard as the world’s most epic complaint letter, a detailed account of a passenger’s “culinary journey of hell” when faced with a spongy biscuit during an in-flight meal. But as the saying goes, there is no such thing as bad publicity — even in the case of funny airline complaints.

Planetary Resources To Change How We Explore The Cosmos

planetary resources
JD Hancock/Flickr

Planetary Resources is a group of world leaders that are building the ground floor opportunities for a space travel industry. Not long ago, in “One Good Reason Why Space Travel Will Happen In Your Lifetime,” we told of their idea to mine near-Earth asteroids for raw materials, basically making space travel profitable. Now, the forward-thinking team at Planetary Resources has tapped a diverse group of supporters to make access to space widely available for exploration and research.

Planetary Resources already includes Google’s CEO Larry Page, filmmaker James Cameron and others who are known for turning exploration into profit.

Recently added to the roster are Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson, actor Seth Green, Star Trek’s Brent Spiner (Data) and Rob Picardo (The Doctor), Bill Nye the Science Guy, futurist Jason Silva and MIT astrophysicist Dr. Sara Seager.

Coming up on Wednesday, May 29 at 10:00 a.m. PDT in Seattle at the Great Gallery at The Museum of Flight (also streaming live), Planetary Resources’ Peter Diamandis, Eric Anderson and Chris Lewicki, along with vlogger Hank Green, will announce an unprecedented project that proposes to change the way humans explore the cosmos.While exact details are being kept secret for now, the plan is to give students, teachers and the public access to “the most innovative space observation technology ever built,” said Planetary Resources in a Reddit post. Also to be covered at the live event, an offer for the public to directly participate in cutting-edge citizen science and discovery.

Doubtful? Check this video with Chief Asteroid Miner Chris Lewicki. Looks legit to me. What do you think?

Virgin ‘See-Through’ Uniforms Not A Big Hit With Workers

virginVirgin Trains, the UK rail arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group promotes what they do as a faster, more comfortable and greener way to travel. Virgin believes that rail has a clear role to play in sustainable transport and they want to lead the charge. Choosing to minimize the negative and accentuate the positive, Virgin Trains takes social responsibility seriously. Uniforms on their employees? Not so much, unless prompted to do so.

The new uniforms, designed by Vivienne Westwood, are currently on hold because they expose the underwear of female staff members. The Telegraph reports the uniforms are described as “flimsy” and “see-through” via complaints to Manuel Cortes, leader of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association trade union. But Virgin has an answer.

Applying a similar strategy where they “want to challenge assumptions, solve problems and deliver innovative solutions,” as Virgin Trains says on their website, the company gave each staff member a £20 voucher to buy suitable undergarments.Already investing £500,000 in the new uniform program, Andy Cross, Virgin’s business support director, said, “It’s important that our people feel comfortable and so we will be issuing vouchers in the next few days for ladies to buy tops to wear under their blouses.”

Still, union members are not happy about the new uniforms and believe the move to them comes directly from Branson himself.

“Our female members are upset because they feel Sir Richard is cutting corners by asking them to wear flimsy blouses, which are skimpy and they feel too revealing,” said Cortes.

For more on Virgin’s plans to roll out new designer uniforms, like these for Virgin Atlantic Airlines, watch the video below:


[Photo credit – Flickr user D@LY3D]

Virgin Atlantic Crew Gets A Fashion Makeover

Virgin Atlantic’s flight attendents and staff are set to step out in snazzy new garb thanks to the help of British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. The airline known for it’s cheeky attitude and sassy flight crew announced they would be overhauling the uniforms for cabin crew and ground staff across the globe.

The carrier’s president, Richard Branson, said he wanted to give his staff a look that would go against the grain and stick in people’s minds. “Virgin Atlantic has a distinct spirit and from a
design perspective we continually try to challenge the norm and stand out from the crowd,” he said. “Our current uniform has been around for more than 10 years and we have seen other airlines start to copy it.”Westwood said she wanted to make use of traditional tailoring methods but blend those with cutting-edge design to give the uniforms a futuristic look. Of course, at the top of the list was ensuring the uniforms would retain the airline’s trademark glamorous style.

Virgin Atlantic’s female cabin crew will be decked out in a suit in the airline’s iconic red color, while male flight staff will don a a three-piece burgundy suit inspired by Britain’s famous Savile Row tailoring. Fabric for the uniforms is made from a variety of eco-friendly textiles, including a recycled polyster yarn made out of used plastic bottles.

The airline will start phasing in the new-look uniforms from July this year, with a full rollout expected in 2014.

[Photo credit: Virgin Atlantic]

Space Travel Takes Giant Branson-Fueled Leap

space travel

Taking another step toward space travel for all, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo lit its engine Monday, breaking the sound barrier high above California’s Mojave Air and Space port with billionaire Richard Branson on hand for the event.

“Today was the most significant day in the program,” Branson told NBC News. “I think that for those people who have been good enough to stick with us for the last eight years, who signed up early on, their time to become astronauts is very soon now … We’ll soon be able to make their dreams come true.”

Branson reportedly has 500 would-be space travelers signed up for the $200,000, two-hour flight that will include six minutes of weightlessness.

Confirming the flight and milestone accomplishment, Branson blogged:

“This is a momentous day and the single most important flight test to date for our Virgin Galactic program. What a feeling to be on the ground with all the team in Mojave to witness Virgin Galactic go faster than the speed of sound. It marks the moment when we put together two key elements of our spaceflight system – the spacecraft and its rocket motor, which have both been tested extensively by themselves over several years – and start the phase of testing that will demonstrate our vehicle’s ability to go to space (hopefully later this year).”

On board the first flight with paying passengers will be Virgin frequent fliers, allowed to trade miles for a ride in space.

Virgin Galactic's First Rocket Powered Flight Breaks The Sound Barrier

[Photo credit -MarsScientific.com and Clay Center Observatory]