Virgin Voyages founder Richard Branson gifts flight staff free cruise

free cruise
Credit: Stefano Tammaro /

Something for the weekend: More than 150 passengers and crew members on a Virgin flight from Melbourne to Hobart in Australia have been gifted a free cruise by founder Sir Richard Branson.

Everyone on board the flight, including cabin crew, baggage handlers and pilots, on Thursday (16 November) morning were told that they will each receive a cruise worth up to $7,000 (£3,652) completely for free, with more than $1 million (£521,756) gifted in total.

Branson phoned in to the place via FaceTime from his private island in the British Virgin Islands to inform its staff and passengers of this, and explained that they had been chosen as the flight takes the same route that Virgin’s cruise ship Resilient Lady will on its first voyage.

A video of the announcement was posted by Virgin Australia and Virgin Voyages’ Instagram accounts. Branson said over the flight’s PA system: “Well, today, you happen to be travelling on the same route as our Aussie MerMaiden Voyage. To celebrate this milestone, I’m pleased to gift each adult on-board a free Virgin Voyages cruise.”

The video showed the crew and passengers erupting into cheers and applause, followed by the cabin crew handing out the free cruise vouchers. Branson commented on the post, stating: “Hope everyone enjoys!”

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The cruise line, which will launch next month when it departs Melbourne for Tasmania, will offers voyages around Australia and New Zealand. Once onboard the Resilient Lady ship, Virgin’s employees and passengers can enjoy a special feature where guests can request a glass of champagne from wherever they are on the boat through their phones.

This sounds like a very generous gift to us at Employee Benefits. What a great way to thank and reward employees!