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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

World

Richard Branson swaps suit for skirt to honor bet
AP
Sepang, Malaysia, May 12, 2013
First Published: 15:15 IST(12/5/2013)
Last Updated: 15:24 IST(12/5/2013)
British billionaire Richard Branson serves drinks as a flight attendant onboard an AirAsia flight bound for Kualu Lumpur, at Perth Airport. (AFP)

British business magnate Richard Branson has lost his latest job because of orange juice.

The Virgin Group founder had his legs shaved, put on lipstick and squeezed into a red skirt to honor a bet by serving as a flight attendant on Sunday on an AirAsia trip from Perth, Australia, to Malaysia.

But he earned a reprimand from AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes after he deliberately dumped a tray of orange juice on Fernandes' lap.

Branson lost a bet to Fernandes in 2010 after they wagered that their Formula One racing teams would finish ahead of each other. Fernandes' team landed two spots above Branson's.

Fernandes gleefully declared after Sunday's nearly six-hour flight on his budget airline that Branson's skills as an attendant were "rubbish" and that he was being immediately fired.

A cheerful Branson, who was tasked with pouring beverages, serving meals and making flight announcements, posed with Fernandes and popped champagne after stepping out of the plane at Malaysia's main low-cost carrier terminal south of Kuala Lumpur.

He said in brief remarks that he was "glad to have gotten the bet over with and (was) looking forward to getting back into my clothes."

AirAsia's chief executive Tony Fernandes pretends to kiss British entrepreneur Richard Branson during an AirAsia promotional event after Branson arrived at an airport in Sepang. (Reuters)


"I always wanted to be an air hostess, but it looks like I have to get back to normality," Branson said. The flight helped raise money for an Australian foundation for hospitalized children.

Asked how Branson rated as an attendant, Fernandes quipped, "Out of 10, maybe one, for a bit of humor."

"I wanted to kill him actually" for spilling the juice, the Malaysian told reporters.

"He looked at me, I said, 'don't you dare,' and the next thing I know, he tipped the whole tray on me," Fernandes added. "He and the girls mopped it up, but I was walking around the flight in my underwear for a while because I didn't bring another pair of trousers."

The certificate presented to British entrepreneur Richard Branson by AirAsia's chief executive Tony Fernandes is seen during an AirAsia promotional event after Branson arrived at an airport in Sepang. (Reuters)


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