'Stewardess' Richard Branson fired by AirAsia chief Tony Fernandez

May 12 2013, 19:26 IST
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Sir Richard Branson (AP) Sir Richard Branson (AP)
SummaryThe terms of the bet was that the loser would serve as a female flight attendant on board the winner's airline.

British business tycoon Sir Richard Branson donned high heels and fishnet stockings as a stewardess in a figure-hugging scarlet outfit on a AirAsia flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur, but was soon fired.

Wearing heavy make-up, the 62-year-old newsmaker was serving passengers as part of a Grand Prix bet with AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandez set two years ago.

The billionaire entrepreneur and owner of Virgin Atlantic Airlines also shaved his legs as promised, but insisted on keeping his beard, which made a startling contrast to the lipstick he had slicked on, 'The Australian' reported.

Branson and Fernandes had betted on which one of their Formula One racing teams would finish ahead of each other in their debut season of the 2010 Formula One Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi.

The terms of the bet was that the loser would serve as a female flight attendant on board the winner's airline.

Fernandes' Team Lotus finished two spots above Branson's Marussia Virgin Racing team in the final rankings.

"Yeah, it's true. We both had Grand Prix teams and I was absolutely certain that I was going to win," Branson said.

"Something went wrong. Of course the drivers of that race are no longer with us. I went to extreme lengths to avoid being here, but knew that one day I had to get it over with," he said.

However, Branson made sure he got his revenge on Fernandes by purposely tipping a tray full of orange juice over the AirAsia boss.

Fernandes declared after the nearly six-hour flight that Branson's skills as an attendant were "rubbish" and that he was being immediately fired.

Fernandes, who described the Briton as his mentor, used to work for Branson before setting up his own budget airline.

But no sooner had Sir Richard made good with his pledge than Fernandez came good on his own promise, announcing he would become one of Virgin Galactic's first commercial space tourists.

"It's something I never, ever dreamed of doing," the AirAsia chief said.

"What he doesn't realise is once I go to space, there'll be a low-cost version - AirAsia Galactica, about 10 per cent of the price he's charging," Fernadez warned.

The special flight's fare was Austarlian Dollar 399, with Aus D 100 from each seat to be donated by AirAsia X to the Starlight Children's Foundation in Australia.

Fernandes told reporters he had to be in his underpants for a while as Branson spilled juice on him, but another flight member kindly lent him a pair of shorts while his jeans were being dried.

Fernandes gave Branson a certificate to recognise he had "graduated" as an AirAsia stewardess.

Branson said he has huge respect for the "fabulous flight attendants" who performed their jobs everyday.

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