travel

Virgin announce first ever 'Pride Flight' staffed entirely by LGBT pilots and cabin crew

The one-off flight hosted by 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' star Tituss Burgess will fly people from London to New York ahead of World Pride 2019.

2018-10-10

Virgin is set to add a healthy dose of flamboyance to its trademark flair with the launch of the UK’s first 'Pride Flight' between London and New York City.

The one-off flight will be hosted by Tituss Burgess – Broadway musical actor and star of the hit Netflix show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – and packed full of special guests and live performances to make it one memorable flight.

Staffed entirely by LGBT+ pilots and cabin crew, the flight will be a true celebration of queer culture 38,000ft above the Atlantic.  It will feature a tonne of special on-board entertainment including on board DJ, Drag-Queen Bingo, Judy Garland singalong, inter-seat speed dating and special in-flight entertainment.

In partnership with NYC & Company and the Alliance for Downtown New York, the flight is designed to celebrate World Pride 2019, which for the first time ever is being held in the United States in New York City.

Taking place in June 2019, the event commemorates the 50th anniversary of New York City’s Stonewall Uprising, widely regarded as a pivotal moment in LGBTQ history. 

World Pride is organised at an international level to celebrate Pride for those countries where homosexual activity is still illegal or repressed, with previous host cities including Rome, London and Toronto.

Tituss Burgess, host of Pride Flight, commented: "At a time when we’re seeing the rights of minority groups under threat, it is more important than ever we stand up and make our voices heard. 

 

"The LGBT community has made enormous strides over the last 50 years, and I’m so proud to partner with Virgin Holidays and Virgin Atlantic to mark this occasion in style and celebrate the hard-won freedoms from those who came before us."

Mark Anderson, Global LGBT Lead for Virgin Group and Executive Vice President at Virgin Atlantic added: "We’re not the type of company to mark an occasion like this half-heartedly and we're going to be pulling out all the stops to ensure the Pride Flight is delivered with a large serving of Virgin flair. 

"We take our commitments to diversity and inclusion seriously, but you can rest assured we have a lot of fun along the way.  This is going to be a show-stopping, ground-breaking, one-of-a-kind experience that we can’t wait to bring to the skies next June.”  

Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company, commented: "As a City founded on diversity, inclusivity and a welcoming spirit, we’re extremely pleased to host World Pride 2019 – the first time the big event will be held in the United States, while at the same time marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.

"Through our partnership with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays we’re delighted to invite UK LGBTQ travellers and allies to New York City to be a part of these historic events, expected to draw more than 3 million visitors and be one of the largest LGBTQ events in history."

Virgin Holidays and Virgin Atlantic have long been committed to pursuing diversity and inclusion policies.  In 2016, Virgin Holidays launched a three-year plan to become one of the most inclusive companies in travel with a programme addressing employees, customers and the destinations they serve.

A portion of ticket sales from the flight will be donated to The Attitude Magazine Foundation to advance community Pride initiatives here in the UK – and further fundraising and raffles will take place on-board.

The flight departs from London Heathrow on Friday June 28th 2019, flying direct to New York City’s Newark airport with a flexible return date on offer.

Holiday-makers can buy a flight-only ticket from £480 by calling Virgin Atlantic on 0344 209 7777, or indulge in a full three-night package from £699 by calling Virgin Holidays on 0344 557 3859. 

Virgin Holidays offers more than 100 accommodation options within New York City, although recommends staying within the Downtown neighbourhood to be able to explore all of New York easily across World Pride weekend.