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Virgin Atlantic: Up in the Air

By: Maxine Sheppard

July 3, 2015

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Our 30th was a landmark year for Virgin Atlantic. We took delivery of our first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, launched our new Vivienne Westwood-designed uniforms, welcomed hundreds of new cabin crew recruits, and celebrated three decades in business. What’s more, we did all this with a film crew in tow and you can watch the results on primetime ITV1 this week.

Virgin Atlantic: Up in the Air is a three-part ITV documentary series which goes behind the scenes of the airline over the course of 14 months to capture the adventures of our teams from across the business. Hundreds of hours of footage were filmed and during the project the film crew joined us in over 10 cities around the world, flying more than 64,000 miles in the process.

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Richard Branson and our Chief Executive Officer Craig Kreeger

The production crew were given unprecedented access to people at all different levels of the company, from Richard Branson and our CEO Craig Kreeger to designersaircraft engineers and new cabin crew recruits. Every episode gives an exclusive insight into the inner workings of Virgin Atlantic, and looks set to inspire the next generation of aviation geeks and flying junkies.

“The crew were with us for months,” says Reuben Arnold, our Senior Vice President of Marketing and Customer Experience. “They just observed us going about our daily activity, and while you’re conscious of them at the beginning, you very quickly get used to them being there.”

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S.V.P of Marketing and Customer Experience Reuben Arnold

“I’m looking forward to seeing the final programme and I hope it will give a really good view of what makes us different. We work very hard to create unique products and services for our customers, and the filming shows all our internal workings. I think it will give people an understanding of how much effort goes into creating the products that we develop and the passion and drive it takes to deliver them. I’m really hoping this comes out in the series.”

Life-long dream? It’s never too late

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Katrine (left) hopes to fulfil a life-long ambition to fly

So who can we expect to see in the first show? Some of our roles are particularly coveted and when new cabin crew positions were advertised in 2014 we received over 2000 applications in 48 hours. In episode one we meet first-time candidate Katrine whose unconventional story is sure to strike a chord with viewers.

As a 58-year-old grandmother and mother-of-four, Katrine has worked in various roles for Virgin Atlantic since 2005 but has harboured a dream to become a crew member for more than 25 years. When an opportunity unexpectedly presents itself, Katrine decides to throw caution to the wind and apply. But how does she get on in her interview and what do her family and friends think of her globetrotting ambitions?

Are you sitting comfortably?

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The pressure is on for Design Manager Nik Lusardi

The first Dreamliner is on the production line and as Customer Experience Design Manager, Nik Lusardi is responsible for selecting passenger seats and making sure they’re tested and fitted into the Dreamliner on time. The film crew follow him on a trip to the Boeing factory in the States as he specifies various last minute tweaks and makes a final decision on the swanky cabin loo.

Nik began his career as a Senior Designer in 2004, becoming Design Manager last year with responsibility for developing and delivering the total interior design for our new 787 Dreamliner. Will he manage to hit all his deadlines and make sure everything is perfect before the aircraft leaves the hangar? The pressure is on.

Tune in next week to find out more about life behind the scenes at Virgin Atlantic. The documentary airs on ITV1 at 9pm on Tuesday 7, 14 and 21 July.

Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the co-editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.

Categories: Our People