Toilet (roll) humour at 35,000 feet

There’s nothing like injecting a little bit of fun and games into your day. I was getting on board a Virgin Atlantic flight from Barbados to London Gatwick yesterday, when I decided to have a little fun…

Richard Branson PA Virgin Atlantic

As I was going through customs, the officers looked quite bemused when they opened my bag to find there were a dozen toilet rolls inside. As I handed over my passport, I assured them that I didn’t have a dodgy stomach. Rather, I had a plan to put a smile on people’s faces on the flight.

Richard Branson toilet rolls Virgin Atlantic

As the plane was full of holiday-makers on their way home, I went to the front of the plane and asked if they were keen to continue their holiday merry-making. As the cheer that went up confirmed, they were up for it. I gave every person in the front row a bog roll each, and explained to the passengers that they had to pass it over their head to the next person, unravelling it as they went.

Richard Branson toilet rolls Virgin Atlantic

The winning row would be the one who got their toilet roll all the way to the other end of the plane without it breaking. Here’s where the lesson came in (learning can be fun!): the teams that tried to hurry too much went too fast and ended up with broken tissue paper. The teams that took it slow and steady – like the famous tortoise – won the race. Regardless, everybody had a blast.

Richard Branson toilet rolls Virgin Atlantic

From Gatwick I went onto the Farnborough International Airshow, where we announced our investment in the Airbus A350, creating one of the youngest, cleanest, greenest fleets in the sky. It’s an incredibly exciting development for the team. However, the earlier flight, and my time with the Virgin Atlantic team in Farnborough, reminded me once again that an airline – or any company – is nothing without its staff.

Richard Branson toilet rolls Virgin Atlantic
Richard Branson toilet rolls Virgin Atlantic

People love to be entertained wherever they are, especially on flights. While the main way we do this is through our airlines’ peerless in-flight entertainment systems, you can’t beat personal interaction and service too. One of the wonderful crew on my Virgin Atlantic flight was Rebecca Palmer, who shared these photos with me, along with one of the two of us 21 years ago on another flight. Time flies when you’re having fun!

What’s the most fun you’ve had on a flight?

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