Virgin Atlantic: An Airline Born Out of Love

Written by Terry Gardner

Did you know Virgin Atlantic was born on a blackboard so Richard Branson could fly to his Valentine?

aNewDomain — Some airlines are born in a boardroom, others are born on a blackboard.

More than 30 years ago, Sir Richard Branson borrowed a blackboard and wrote “Virgin Atlantic” on it after he was bumped from a flight from Puerto Rico to the British Virgin Islands.

Branson, owner of Virgin Records at the time, refused to let an airline keep him away from his Valentine just because they didn’t have a full flight.  He wasn’t going to keep the beautiful Joan Templeman waiting.  So he chartered an airplane.  Then he scribbled “Virgin Atlantic – $39 one way to BVI” on that blackboard and began selling “tickets” to other bumped passengers.

He filled up his first plane that day and decided there had to be a better way to run an airline.

How about an airline that cares about its passengers?  He called Boeing to see about buying a second-hand 747.  They didn’t hang up on him, and Virgin Atlantic took its first breath.

Who knows what would have happened if he had remained stuck at the airport in Puerto Rico?  Another bloke might have snapped Joan up.  But Sir Richard had vision, and that chartered flight led to Joan becoming his bride and the birth of Virgin Atlantic in 1984.

Virgin Atlantic’s first flight was on a Boeing 747 from London from Gatwick Airport to Newark International Airport on June 22, 1984.

Since then the airline has connected many sweethearts, and this week the airline gave a shout out for romances that it has assisted.  And several followers have responded.

One couple met while waiting for an airport bus.  This year marks their 30th Valentine’s Day celebration.  After @tyfrancis got engaged to @Alayna, he practically lived on Virgin Atlantic planes commuting between London and New York City.  Virgin Atlantic is still listening for love tweets.

Last October, Virgin Atlantic began flying its first Boeing Dreamliner 787-9.  Although the inaugural flight was between London and Atlanta, the plane’s route is between Heathrow and Logan International Airport in Boston.  Its second Dreamliner began flying in January between London and Washington, D.C.

And Virgin Atlantic is working to add new flights between the USA and the UK including a flight between London Heathrow and Detroit.

And today’s Valentine, Richard Branson, is still taking notes and he encourages men to catch up to women scribblers.  After all, his napkin scribble led to an airline.

Has Virgin Atlantic or another airline helped unite you with your Valentine? Let us know here or via @aNewDomain.

Image credits: Virgin Atlantic 

For aNewDomain, I’m Terry Gardner.