June 17, 2024

richard bransonEntrepreneur Richard Branson has been called many things, but today he made sure that welcher would never be one of them. The billionaire boss of Virgin Airlines fulfilled a bet he lost to Tony Fernandes, CEO of rival AirAsia, by donning full drag and doing his best trolley dolly impersonation. About 300 passengers on board the AirAsia flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur were treated to the sky-high show of Sir Richard sporting the airline’s short, tight red uniform, freshly shaved legs, and a full face of makeup. The flamboyant 63-year-old’s first duty was to take out a drinks tray, which he mischievously upended all over Fernandes. “It slipped, it really did,” Branson insisted. Fernandes, who had to change into a dry set of clothes, quickly made it clear who was in charge: “You’re going to be cleaning the toilets,” he said. Branson admitted to wearing a dress only once before, when he launched the ill-fated Virgin Brides business. “I could get to like this,” he said, putting a stocking-clad leg up on a passenger’s chair. “All the girls want to have a touch. I don’t normally get that.” Despite a stellar performance of the safety demonstration – which earned a round of applause – the flight ended with Branson being fired before he and Fernandes sprayed each other with champagne. “I’m a great believer in having fun, throwing yourself into everything you do,” Branson said. “If you lose a bet you’ve got to honor that bet and if you can raise lots of money for charity, which we’ve done today, so much the better.” Branson lost the bet to Fernandes more than two years ago. The pair wagered on which one of their Formula One racing teams would finish ahead of the other, in the debut season of the 2010 Formula One Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. AirAsia X is donating $100 from each seat sold on the flight to the Starlight Children’s Foundation in Australia. At a cocktail party last night benefactors chipped in for the opportunity to shave Branson’s legs on stage. A total of $200,000 has been raised so far.

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