Taking Entertainment to New Heights – Branson’s Virgin Atlantic and Little Red to Offer In-flight Live Shows

Posted by Rachel S on Friday, August 16th, 2013

Virgin's Little Red to offer live entertainment

Sir Richard Branson is a force of entertainment all his own. He hilariously announced the launch of the Virgin Atlantic domestic UK service – Little Red – by donning a kilt (and then lifting it), a typically outlandish Branson-esque antic. Never one to rest on his laurels, Branson is constantly innovating to keep customers engaged. They just opened a pop-up restaurant, Ceviche, in Heathrow at Virgin’s Clubhouse – a short-lived offshoot of one of London’s hottest and most popular restaurants. That’s great for dinner – but what about a show, you ask? Virgin’s got that covered too with live in-flight shows on limited Little Red flights.

To coincide with Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival this month, Virgin Atlantic announced they will host live comedy and music shows on flights into Manchester and Edinburgh. Don’t look for top-tier Brit talent like Coldplay or Ricky Gervais to be crooning and jesting at 30,000 feet. Instead the airline has promised a roster of “rising stars” (also known as no one you’ve likely heard of) for the in-air entertainment. It’s one thing to wander into open mic night at a local comedy club, but it’s another when it comes to you while you’re trapped in smallish seat with nowhere to run…

The Virgin honcho said, “In true Virgin Atlantic spirit, we are doing something a little different, and providing our passengers with a line-up of gigs to ensure we offer an unforgettable flying experience.” August flights will feature the comic acts and passengers flying in September will see the musical performers. Branson always brings the funny with his air travel adverts, so there’s hope this will be well done. But on the other hand, it could be the most annoying innovation in air travel.

If you’ve got an incorrigible seatmate who doesn’t take the presence of your book, magazine or tablet as a hint that you don’t want to chat, imagine how irritating it could be to have a microphone wielding jokester in the all-too-small airplane environment! iPhone earbuds can help ignore a bad in-flight move and a sleep mask can block the sunlight, but how do you overlook someone basically busking in the aisles?

Annoying music on an airplane

And with musical tastes so disparate among passengers and highly personal, how are Branson et al selecting featured artists? It is a Scottish festival they’re saluting so one has to wonder if they’ll be featuring the (not so dulcet tones of) bagpipes. If that’s the case, alcohol sales may reach fever pitch as passengers rush to dull their senses from the onslaught of grating plaid wheezebag music.

Similarly, a hip-hop artist may be off-putting to older travelers and opera could resonate painfully through the encapsulated space. What does that leave? Boy bands, teen pop, easy listening, jazz? I like to envision a plane full of staid Brits going Gangnam Style if they offer up some K-Pop! And as for the stand-up acts – with many traveling with children, concerns of appropriateness will likely drastically limit the comedic palate they can draw from. Ah well, if you’re flying Little Red this Fall and the live entertainment is less than thrilling, you can always seek solace in an air sick bag…


image sources: MSN.com, Sleephug.com

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