Cough up $7,355 to be on a flight with Sir Richard Branson as your flight attendant

Branson AA Pic.jpgDuring your 13 hour flight from London to Kuala Lumpur on AirAsia would you like to have Sir Richard Branson as your flight attendant, resplendent in a skinny red skirt and blouse, serving you drinks and cleaning the lavatory?

If so, it can happen on 1 May–but it will cost you $7,355.

AirAsia is selling 130 tickets on the AirAsia X charity flight for £4,500, or approximately $7,355. Mind you, that is only for the London-Kuala Lumpur flight. There is no return ticket. If you would like to attend the cocktail evening and have a hotel room, it’s an additional £700.

Cash poor? You could attend the charity cocktail evening in KL on 2 May for £350, although that’s what a return ticket from London to Kuala Lumpur can cost on a good day.

The prices may seem high, but they are for a good cause. Branson and AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes were looking to promote their respective Formula One racing teams–Virgin Racing for Branson, Team Lotus for Fernandes–and agreed the owner of the team that performed worst in the F1 season would have to be a flight attendant on the other owner’s airline. After Branson lost last November, Fernandes gave Branson an AirAsia uniform.

Proceeds from the flight will go to Virgin Unite, the Virgin Group’s non-profit charity arm.

“Branson will have to serve and even clean the toilets throughout the flight while wearing the high heels and the red AirAsia stewardess uniform,” AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes says.

He adds Branson will also have to wear makeup and shave his legs as AirAsia does not permit “hairy stewardesses”. But don’t worry: Fernandes says Branson can keep his beard.

Branson, never one to miss a savvy business opportunity, remarked on the Virgin Group owning a portion in Fernandes’s AirAsia X: “The only positive thing is we own 20 per cent of his company so I’ll be able to get some promotion for a company I have a stake in.”

Should you feel any remorse for Branson, do consider that he perhaps had this coming. In 2003 he offered a similar bet to then-Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon over if Virgin Atlantic could start flights to Australia within a given time period. Virgin Atlantic did start the flights, but the Qantas boss didn’t take Branson up on the offer, saying “We are running an airline, not a circus.”

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