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Airlines often ask passengers to follow safety instructions, not to tamper with smoke detectors and to put phones in airplane mode. However, in a surprising announcement, Virgin Atlantic is encouraging its passengers to steal its coveted salt and pepper shakers — in the classic VA red for the holidays — found on its flights from December 21-26, 2017.


The salt and pepper shakers have been collector items for aviation and cooking enthusiasts since they first appeared on board over 15 years ago; they can even be found on eBay selling for $20 a pop. The original shakers, named Wilbur and Orville, come with the inscription “Pinched from Virgin Atlantic” on the bottom, a nod to the passengers snapping up the highly sought-after seasonings. (The airline may want to consider a different approach if they want to keep Wilbur and Orville on board.)

“When we launched Wilbur and Orville over 15 years ago, we had no idea they’d become so iconic and loved by our customers. Although our cabin crew keep a close eye on them, thousands have been pinched over the years as customers like to take home a special memento of their Virgin Atlantic flight,” said Mark Anderson, executive vice president of Virgin Atlantic. “This Christmas, we’re shaking things up by introducing limited-edition red sets of Wilbur and Orville on all flights and expect to see them fly off the planes.”

The original salt shakers have been found on the ground since they were first introduced and the airline prides itself on its collectible items, all of which look uniquely Virgin — and all of which seem to get stolen from their fleet. Aside from Wilbur and Orville, the top items taken from Virgin planes are mugs, blankets, hand wash, cutlery, safety cards and sick bags.

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