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Virgin Atlantic Swaps Branson for Billy

by Moderator September 2012 - last edited February 2013 by Community Manager

Remember our recent nationwide search to find a budding Sir Richard Branson? We're delighted to announce that Billy Yeomans, 10, from Chichester, has been appointed by Virgin Atlanticto test and approve our newly refurbished 747 fleet.

The pint-sized primary school pupil was chosen from over 600 applicants to become our first Junior Approvals Manager in an initiative spearheaded by the boss himself.

Billy, a plane crazy aviation and adventure enthusiast wowed judges by creating his own plane cabin in his family home, collecting over 30 aeroplane safety cards and navigating his dad on a flight to Switzerland.


Sir Richard Branson's first ever Air-prentice

Billy doesn't miss a trick as he inspects the cabin Billy doesn't miss a trick as he inspects the cabin


Billy had free reign of the plane, which is fresh from a 95,000 hour refit, for a day at Gatwick Airport and will submit a full report to Sir Richard giving his verdict on the newly refitted 747 fleet. Whilst on-board, Billy was given exclusive access to the in-flight entertainment system; after dipping into some movies and then settling on playing a game he described it as ‘brilliant’. Billy then taste-tested a new 747 menu which is being launched along with the refitted cabins, and was served by the glamorous Virgin Atlantic cabin crew throughout.


Hard at work: our new Junior Approvals Manager Billy Yeomans Hard at work: our new Junior Approvals Manager Billy Yeomans


He finished the day with a hands-on test of the redesigned seats, which we believe to be the comfiest ever on board a 747, and after plenty of seat adjustment and a quick snooze Billy certainly agreed. Once the ten year-old's report has been approved, the planes will go on to take over 650 flights a year, carrying over half a million children to destinations including the Caribbean and the USA. Billy will now give a kid’s eye view on future on-board improvements and will be a sounding board for all our child-focused developments.

Billy inspecting from his seat Billy inspecting from his seat


Billy Yeomans Cabin Evaluation:

  • In-Flight Entertainment System: There were even more movies than the cinema. I flicked through the kids only section, looking through the music too but in the end I played games. Final verdict? Brilliant.
  • Cabin Crew: The two cabin crew ladies got me everything I wanted, from orange juice to headphones. Final verdict? Excellent.
  • Food: I had three courses which really filled me up, loads of veg and potatoes and a yummy chocolate dessert too. Final verdict? Quite Tasty.
  • On-Board Amenities Pack: My pack has an eye mask and socks which helped me to snuggle up in my seat and fall to sleep. Final verdict? Good.
  • Cabin Comfort: The seats were really comfy and even better than our sofa at home because I could adjust the head rest and recline the seat to the perfect position. Final verdict? Super Comfortable.
  • Safety Demonstration: I love safety demonstrations and the cabin crew performed it just for me, they read the whole announcement from a book that they carry on every single flight. Final verdict? Excellent.

We're currently re-fitting our entire leisure fleet of 747s at a cost of more than £50 million. Renovations will include a newly designed, more comfortable seat, a brand new touch screen in-flight entertainment system, with over 300 hours of entertainment, and new menu choices – all aimed at making Virgin Atlantic the most comfortable way to fly for holidaying families travelling to destinations such as Florida, the Caribbean and the USA.

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About the author: Maxine

Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the 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.