Celebrating 30 years of Virgin Atlantic

Richard Branson with his wife Joan and their daughter Holly on the inaugural Virgin Atlantic flight
Image by Virgin.com
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 20 June 2014

Happy birthday Virgin Atlantic! On Sunday our airline is 30 years young, and we’re celebrating in style.

On our inaugural flight, I remember thinking it was the most fun journey I’d ever experienced. The employees were delightful, the entertainment was magical and I got off the flight excited for the next one. Thankfully, I can say the same thing today.

12 Virgin Atlantic cabin crew members wear the Virgin Atlantic uniform designed by John Rocha
Image by John Rocha

Since we started Virgin Atlantic, 16 of our 17 original competitors have gone out of business (no prizes for naming the one who is still our rival!) We’ve also became the only brand to launch successful airlines in three continents, with Virgin Australia and Virgin America alongside Virgin Atlantic.

From our desire to innovate in areas like in-flight entertainment, airport Clubhouses and customer service, to our commitment to ploughing all profits into developing clean fuels, the future looks bright for the next 30 years.

Richard Branson stands in front of a Virgin Atlantic plane
Image by Virgin.com

However, the main reason for this is our amazing team. Thank you to every single person to ever join the Virgin Atlantic team, you are the real difference between us and our rivals.

We also owe a lot to our customers, and wanted to say thank you in inimitable Virgin style. To celebrate turning the big 3-0, we’re offering Londoners the chance to drop everything, jump in a taxi and jet off to the Big Apple today. Keep your eyes peeled and your passport ready and you could be one of up to 60 lucky passengers flying straight to New York for a free weekend trip. Head over to Virgin Atlantic for more details.

Richard Branson dressed as a pilot in a line of people exiting a Virgin Atlantic plane
Virgin Atlantic

Here’s one of my favourite pieces of feedback from a customer, on the very first Virgin flight. American Airlines decided to bump all of the passengers on an evening flight from Puerto Rico to the BVI - yours truly included. So I went to the back of the airport, hired a plane, borrowed a blackboard and wrote “Virgin Air, $39 single flight”. I walked around all the stranded people and filled up the plane. As we landed, a passenger said to me: “Virgin Airways isn’t too bad – smarten up the service and you could be in business.”

He was definitely onto something. Here’s to the next 30 years.