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

By: Dave Gunner

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!

Competition terms and conditions

By participating in the Virgin Atlantic Wilbur & Orville Star Wars Competition it is deemed that you accept and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions:

To enter this Competition, you must:

  • be 18 years of age;
  • be a UK resident;
  • have a valid, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account
  • have commented on Virgin Atlantic’s competition post on their Facebook page, Instagram page or replied to the competition tweet on Twitter
  1. No purchase necessary to enter however, entrants must pay their own costs for connecting to the Internet.
  2. This Competition is not open to employees of Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Holidays, their families, their agencies or any companies directly connected with the creation and administration of this Competition.
  3. Competition Period: This Competition is open from 8:00 GMT on Thursday 20 February 2020 until 23:59 GMT on Thursday 27 February 2020.
  4. Only one entry will be accepted per person throughout the Competition Period.
  5. Prize: There is one (1) prize available comprising of one (1) pair of limited edition Star Wars themed Wilbur and Orville salt and pepper shakers.
  6. Bulk entries made from trade, consumer groups or third parties will not be accepted. Incomplete or illegible entries, by or via third parties or syndicates, entries by macros or other automated means (including systems which can be programmed to enter), and entries which do not satisfy the requirements of these terms and conditions in full will be disqualified and will not be counted. If it becomes apparent that a participant is using a computer(s) to circumvent this condition by, for example, the use of scripts, “brute force‟, masking their identity by manipulating IP addresses, using identities other than their own or any other automated means in order to increase that participant’s entries into the draw in a way that is not consistent with the spirit of the Competition, that person’s entries will be disqualified and any prize awarded will be void.
  7. Entries must be submitted by 23:59 on Thursday 27 February 2020 to be valid and considered.
  8. Receipt of entries will not be acknowledged. Virgin Atlantic does not accept any responsibility or liability for lost entries or entries which are delayed, damaged, corrupted, incomplete or not received.
  9. All eligible entries shall be entered in to the Competition draw from which one (1) winner (“Winner”) will be selected on Friday 28 February 2020.
  10. You agree that Virgin Atlantic may, but is not required to, make your entry available on its website and any other media, whether now known or invented in the future, and in connection with any publicity of the competition. You agree to grant Virgin Atlantic a non-exclusive, worldwide, irrevocable licence, for the full period of any intellectual property rights in the competition image to use, display, publish, transmit, copy, edit, alter, store, re-format and sub-licence the competition image.
  11. Virgin Atlantic’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  12. The Winner will be notified within 7 days of the Draw via social media. The Winner will be required to reply in order to confirm eligibility plus acceptance of the Prize within 48 hours of the message. If the Winner fails to confirm acceptance within 48 hours, the Prize will be forfeited and another winner will be selected at random from the original entries.
  13. Prize confirmation will be sent to the Winner’s via email, once the Winner has provided their contact email address as part of the prize fulfilment process.
  14. Virgin Atlantic must either publish or make available information that indicates that a valid award took place. To comply with this obligation Virgin Atlantic will send the surname and county of the Winner and, if applicable copies of their winning entries, to anyone who writes to Virgin Atlantic at the address below (enclosing a self-addressed envelope) within one month of the Draw. If you object to any or all of your surname, county and winning entry being published or made available, please contact Virgin Atlantic’s press office at In such circumstances, Virgin Atlantic must still provide the information and winning entry to the Advertising Standards Authority on request.
  15. Virgin Atlantic will only process your personal information as set out in the Privacy Policy, which can be found at
  16. Virgin Atlantic’s decision regarding selection of the Winner and the awarding of the Prize is final and no further correspondence shall be entered in to concerning the matter.
  17. Virgin Atlantic reserves the right to withdraw or cancel this Competition at any time, in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
  18. This Competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You understand that you are providing your information to Virgin Atlantic and not to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. All entries must comply with the Instagram Terms of Use, the Instagram Code of Conduct and any other relevant Instagram terms or policies in operation from time to time.
  19. These Terms & Conditions are subject to English Law and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

Promoter: Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited, Registered Office: The VHQ, Fleming Way, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 9DF


Dave Gunner

Dave Gunner

I love telling the story of our people, our planes, our places and our planet through Ruby Blog.

Categories: Our Style