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Out of this world. Our Star Wars salt and pepper shakers

By: Virgin Atlantic

February 16, 2020

With only 25 sets in the known universe, our new, limited edition Star Wars salt and pepper pots are rarer than Faberge Eggs! They were created especially for our Star Wars themed flight, which took off on Saturday morning with hundreds of Star Wars superfans heading to the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida. The salt and pepper shakers, along with Wookie Cookies, are just a couple of the special Star Wars-themed surprises onboard the flight.

Orville and Wilbur – our most seasoned travellers

We’ve always believed in paying attention to the small details. Those imaginative little touches often stick in the mind, and that’s exactly what happened back in 2001 when we introduced some novelty salt and pepper shakers to our Upper Class cabin. Shaped like little aircraft and named Wilbur and Orville after the pioneering Wright brothers, the little seasoning dispensers have been … ahem… shaking things up, ever since. So much so that we noticed early on how an alarming number of them were disappearing off our flights. 

 

Legend has it that one of our accountants complained to Richard about the vanishing stock. His answer was simple; print ‘Pinched from Virgin Atlantic’ on the bottom of the sets and encourage people to take them – a classic bit of Virgin PR. These sought-after shakers have since gone on to become true icons of the aviation world. They’ve featured in countless online articles, several national newspapers and even have their own social media tag – #pinchedfrom – with customers posting photos from all around the world.

Flying the Star Wars fan flight – G-VLIP, The Falcon.

Over the years the Wilbur and Orville range has been expanded. The Star Wars salt and pepper pots join this exclusive club which is now made up of five different designs. To celebrate we’ve gathered all the different versions together for a family photo and delved into the history of these unlikely icons of the sky. Who would have guessed something as simple as a seasoning shaker could become such a talking point? Here’s the family tree:

Silver. If you’re travelling in Upper Class on one of our A330, A340 or 747 aircraft, your salt and pepper shakers are the much-loved silver originals.

 

Black. We decided to extend the range to our Premium customers who are now given the super cool black versions. 

 

Almond Gold (to give it its proper name). If you’re lucky enough to be travelling in our new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft in Upper Class, you will season your food using a set of almond gold Wilbur and Orvilles, which were designed to complement our new Upper Class cabin colours. With only four of this aircraft type currently flying, these are much rarer than either the silver or black versions. More A350s are set to join our fleet this year, so you’ll have a greater chance of nabbing a pair.

 

Red. Second, in terms of rarity, are our ruby red Wilbur and Orvilles. Issued to Upper Class customers for a very limited time in 2017, and given to a few lucky people as Christmas gifts, our limited edition red versions were top of the exclusivity tree for quite a while. That was until this morning, when this happened …

 

Star Wars Wilbur and Orville (or should that be WilburOneKenobi and C3POrville). With only 25 hand-painted pairs in existence, and available on one flight only, these are set to become the rarest and most collectable versions yet. 

The rarest of them all, and much more difficult to pinch, and no good whatsoever for adding salt and pepper to your fish and chips… Our giant Wilbur and Orville. Two sets, one red, one silver, were commissioned for our 35th birthday celebrations and are on display at our head office and training centre.

Mildly interesting

  • A few years ago, with another onboard product refresh, we replaced Orville and Wilbur with a snazzy, double-ended cocktail shaker-style salt and pepper dispenser. These came not with ‘pinched from’ but ‘shaken not stirred’ printed on the base. Excellent idea, classy, beautiful design, and very Upper Class. However not as popular with our customers. A year later, Wilbur and Orville were back by popular demand. 
  • History lesson. Before taking a bit of time out to build and fly the world’s first aircraft, Wilbur and Orville Wright owned a newspaper and a bicycle shop.
  • When pinching Wilbur and Orville remember they’re usually full to the brim, so bear that in mind when stashing them. Don’t be like one of our customers who ended up with a laptop filled with salt and pepper. 
  • Before Wilbur and Orville, we used stylish teardrop-shaped salt and pepper pots (seen above with the cocktail shaker and butter knife)
  • During the period when Wilbur and Orville were taken off our flights, we wanted to continue the ‘pinched from’ theme. So we introduced a butter knife with a subtle message that seemingly contains a typo. These are still flying today. Look closely at our Upper Class butter knife today, and you’ll see it says “Finest stainless steal.” You’re welcome!

Keep watching our Facebook page in the coming days for details on how you can get your hands on a set of Star Wars Orville and Wilbur salt and pepper pots.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic

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