Sir Richard Branson is to dress up as an air hostess and serve customers on a rival airline – after losing a bet with the company’s owner.
How Sir Richard Branson might look
The billionaire owner of the Virgin Racing Formula One team had a bet with Lotus Racing boss Tony Fernandes over whose team would finish highest in the 2010 championships.
Whoever lost the best would have to dress up as a woman and act as an air stewardess on one of the winner’s flights.
Despite both teams finishing with zero points in their debut F1 seasons, Lotus finished ahead of Virgin by virtue of better finishes.
Now Sir Richard, 60, will have to don a dress and serve champagne to a selection of charity auction winners on an Air Asia flight from London to Kuala Lumpur.
Mr Fernandes, a 46-year-old Malaysian businessman who owns budget airline Air Asia, worked for Branson’s Virgin Atlantic as a financial controller in the late 1980s.
He said: ”There has been a fantastic spirit of competition between us and Virgin Racing all season and one of the first people to come and congratulate us on the pitwall was Richard.
”We agreed we will run an online charity auction for the seats on our Kuala Lumpur / London route to raise money for a charity of Richard’s choice and give fans of both teams the chance to be on the flight.
”We have had this great bet running all season and now it’s time for Richard to start preparing himself for some hard work and the likely pain of a pair of high heels!”
Keith Collantine, editor of Formula 1 website F1Fanatic, said: ”Richard Branson has always been a master of marketing.
”He knows that his brand can only benefit from this sort of publicity – even if the joke’s on him.”
Airlines are well known for their brilliant publicity stunts.
Last month Philippine airline Cebu Pacific received worldwide notoriety after its air hostesses performed the traditional safety procedure by dancing to Lady Gaga.