AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes (c.) at the recent Malaysian Grand Prix: “I hope he’s (Richard Branson) ready for the charity flight because I’ve got my razor ready and I can’t wait to shave his hairy legs!”


KUALA LUMPUR — When AirAsia Group CEO and Team Lotus co-principal Tony Fernandes agreed to a friendly wager with Virgin Group and Marussia Virgin Racing’s Richard Branson on the sidelines of the 2010 Bahrain Formula One Grand P, little did they expect the twists, turns and obstacles they would have to go through to complete the wager.

Nine months and 19 races later, at the spectacular Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, Fernandes’ Team Lotus came out tops and just when the whole world was getting ready to see Branson don the red and sexy AirAsia female flight attendant uniform and be an AirAsia crew for a day, there was another twist in the tale.

Branson ruptured a ligament after colliding into a teenager on the ski slopes in Switzerland; well, that’s how the story goes anyway.

Five months after the colorful evening in Abu Dhabi, the day of reckoning for Branson has finally arrived.

On May 1, on board AirAsia flight D708 from London to Kuala Lumpur, Branson will don AirAsia’s famous red female flight attendant uniform and strut down the aisle to offer coffee, tea or any other food or beverage to Fernandes and 250 other guests on the special 13-hour KL-bound flight.

This not-to-be-missed opportunity to join two of the most illustrious characters in aviation and make history 35,000 feet in the sky for charity will be available for booking online at www.AirAsiaGo.com with three charity package options until 07:00hrs (GMT +8), April 24.

A total of 160 tickets on board this special flight would be made available for sale on AirAsiaGo.com

Flight tickets for this once-in-a-lifetime experience are available at GBP4,500, while flights and accommodation packages start at GBP5,200 for a single accommodation and GBP5,000 for twin sharing.

Guests on the charity flight can look forward to being entertained by world-class acts such as UK’s very own DJ Jarren C who will spin at the pre-departure event at Stansted; and DJ Dan Healy, who has entertained at after-parties for Alexander McQueen, Matthew Williamson, Jay-Z, and Justin Timberlake.

Spellbinding street magician Dynamo will also be on board to mesmerize.

Eddie Jordan, who has put a host of drivers on the world stage, including Hill, Mansell, Schumacher and Senna, among many others, will be performing with his four-piece band Eddie & The Robbers on board the flight as well.

Also look out for actor and comedian James Corden, star of shows “Gavin & Stacey” and “Horne & Corden” on BBC, among an unforgettable line-up which has been arranged for the charity flight.

Guests who cannot be on the flight, but would like the chance to be entertained by Branson, Fernandes and a host of top British and Malaysian celebrities, including Formula One legend Eddie Jordan in Kuala Lumpur, can purchase tickets to the Charity Cocktail Party at GBP350 on May 2.

All tickets and packages are available on AirAsiaGo.com with all proceeds going to beneficiaries to be determined by Fernandes and Branson.

Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia Berhad and principal of Team Lotus, said, “We’ve come a full circle, Richard and I. Who would have thought my mentor will be serving as a flight attendant on AirAsia? I’ve got my razor ready, and I can’t wait to shave his hairy legs!”

“Jokes aside, how we got to this charity flight is a testament that we can achieve anything if we are fueled by passion, grit, determination and never take no for an answer. Team Lotus, a Malaysian F1 team, supported by AirAsia, an ASEAN airline, has beaten the odds on the racetrack and in the air, and there will be more to come. I am also glad that we are able to contribute to those in need through this charity flight as well,” he added.

All proceeds collected from the sale of the charity packages and special collector items at the auction during the charity cocktail evening, which include personal items from Fernandes and Branson, will be channeled toward beneficiaries to be determined and announced by AirAsia and Virgin Unite at a later date.

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