Sir Richard Branson Goes Paparazzi on Sleeping Virgin Australia Employee

Sir Richard Branson visited Australia. He tours the airlines that carry the Virgin name, shows up for inaugural flights, and for important announcements. Of course the parent of Hainan Airlines just took a significant stake in Virgin Australia.

Virgin Australia Interior

Sir Richard’s blog shares the trip including time with the Virgin Australia staff.

..I popped into the office and the airport to say hello and check in to see what the team are up to. This guy wasn’t up to much at all – I caught him sleeping on the job! Wow, did he get a shock when I woke him up. He must have thought he was dreaming because he went straight back to sleep.

Oh of course it’s all in good fun. The employee wasn’t sitting in the check-in lobby but a crew lounge. And he wasn’t on duty. (Or maybe you think the whole thing was staged.) Sir Richard continues, “To be fair, he was on standby, getting some much needed rest.”

And then he gets in this quip, “On the other hand, it appears that some of the ladies in the command centre have been up to quite a bit. I must have kissed three or four baby bumps. We love a Virgin birth.”

Sir Richard Branson is a brand. He licenses the Virgin name in exchange for a percentage of a business and piece of revenue going forward. When Alaska Airlines retires the Virgin America brand they’ll save the 0.7% of revenue Sir Richard takes off the top.

Whether real or an act for the brand, Branson always looks like he’s having fun.

(HT: Alan H.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. I met him years ago when he came over to SXSW to stand in the trade show and talk about Virgin Records. This had to have been 15 years ago — he wasn’t terribly well known in the US at the time and chatted at length with anyone who cared to hang at the booth and talk. I remember that their area was set up like a living room (this was before the convention center expanded) and he held court on a sofa, except when he’d jump up to say hello to someone. Charming guy.

  2. Branson is foremost a brand, but to be fair he is also a key shareholder in the various Virgin airline brands. Virgin Group still owns ~9% of Virgin Australia (and 25% of Virgin America until the Alaska deal closes).

  3. @Elroy LMAO

    What is the likelihood that Alaska deal will go through? Is it rank speculation now to start banking Virgin America miles hoping they end up in Mileage Plan?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *