Virgin Atlantic Ditches Its Flying Lady Icon for New Faces

Apr 2, 2019

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Say farewell to the Flying Lady of Virgin Atlantic.

In honor of the airline’s recent commitment to a 50/50 gender balance in leadership by 2022, Virgin is swapping out the Flying Lady for five new “Flying Icons” on its brand-new A350-1000 fleet. The five new faces, men and women, are meant to represent the diversity of modern Britain, and will debut on four A350-1000s this year, followed by an additional eight in 2021.

The concept for Virgin’s original Flying Lady came from the figureheads that have decorated ships since the 1600s, with the artistic inspiration drawn from pin-up girl styles popular in the 1930s and 1940s.

Virgin Atlantic publicly pledged to address its gender pay gap and increase diversity and inclusion across the airline, aiming for a 50/50 gender balance in leadership roles, and a minimum of 12 percent black, Asian and minority ethnic group representation throughout the company by 2022.

One of Virgin Atlantic’s new flying icons (Courtesy of Virgin Atlantic)

The airline has made other public affirmations of its stance on diversity in recent months. Back in October, Virgin Atlantic announced its inaugural “Pride Flight” from London to New York, a nonstop “celebration of queer culture 38,000 feet above the Atlantic.” And in January, the airline relaxed its uniform policy for female flight attendants by including both trouser and skirt options in their uniforms instead of defaulting to skirts. Virgin flight attendants now also no longer need to wear makeup while on duty.

Featured photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic.

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