Happy birthday to us: 33 years old and counting…

And so started our incredible story. It was 33 years ago today, on the 22nd June 1984, that our very first flight – VS1 – departed Gatwick for Newark. What a day that was. Alongside our first ever customers were Richard and his family, plus a load of 80s celebrities, pop stars and journalists, and 60 crates of champagne. The rest, as they say, is history. Here’s a few mementos from that headline-making day:

The Guardian front page 22 June 1984

The Guardian front page 23 June 1984

Cabin Baggage tag

Our first ever cabin baggage tag

G-VIRG and 'The Painter'

Our ops team didn’t have much of a problem working out the flying schedule that day. We only had one aircraft – G-VIRG, Maiden Voyager. From day one it boasted an unusual feature in the form of ‘The Painter’; a drawing of a man who is precariously perched on his painting platform after dropping his paint pot down the side of the aircraft. This caused quite a stir back then. Quirky paint schemes didn’t exist in the stuffy world of aviation. Eventually, The Painter was removed from the tail after a few incidents where other aircraft had mistaken him for damage to the tail and reported it to the control tower.

A newspaper article describes how the inaugural passengers watched a filmed version of the take-off shot from behind the pilots' heads.

A newspaper article describes how the inaugural passengers watched a filmed version of the take-off shot from behind the pilots’ heads. When the ‘pilots’ turned to face the camera, they were revealed to be cricketers Viv Richards and Ian Botham.

This year we're celebrating by baking cakes! Just search social media for #cakesonaplane to see some of the great cakes that everyone has been baking. 

This year we’re celebrating by baking cakes! Just search social media for #cakesonaplane to see some of the great cakes you’ve all been baking. We’re busy judging the entries now and will be announcing the winners soon.

About Dave Gunner

Dave is the co-editor of Ruby, the Virgin Atlantic Blog. He has worked at Virgin Atlantic for over two decades. In that time he has amassed some truly epic memories but never lost his fascination with the airline world. Dave's on a mission to bring you some great insights into our people, planes and planet.
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