Regular readers may recall a previous post which profiled Pete Shaw, the founder of V-Flyer; an independent online community of Virgin Atlantic travellers.
This is a very special year for V-Flyer, so we’re delighted to invite Pete back for a quick chat and to find out more about an exciting competition…
Pete, congratulations on the anniversary. Did you ever imagine V-Flyer would become such a thriving community?
The tenth anniversary is a milestone I never anticipated when creating the site a decade ago. Back then, the year before even Facebook took its first steps into cyberspace, social networking was a phrase yet to be coined and the idea of a bunch of customers getting together to share ideas (and more than the occasional drink), was really rather novel.
How has the site evolved and what’s the secret of its long-lasting appeal?
A lot has happened in ten years. The human genome project was completed; America got its first black President; Apple changed the mobile phone market with the iPhone and Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet. And despite V-Flyer’s obvious aviation bent, these were things we discussed in our forums and over dinner tables. From its very inauspicious beginnings, V-Flyer has always been a cradle of eclectic conversation. Sure you can find someone on the site who’ll be able to help you work out the best mileage earning strategy when flying open-jaw through Singapore on an apex ticket (!), but equally if you’re after recommendations about the best wine to drink with Shepherd’s Pie, V-Flyer’s always been very welcoming.
As founder of the site, what are you most proud of?
Well, the site has seen (at least) two marriages as a direct result of meeting online, and countless other lasting friendships between people who prior to the site’s existence would have possibly only exchanged passing pleasantries in the Clubhouse on their way to their next flight. I’m enormously proud of that aspect of the site. It’s encompassed in the site’s slogan, “it’s more than just a journey”, which you can interpret as everything from the excitement of travel to the diverse and quite unique ways V-Flyer has brought people together.
How will you be marking the occasion?
In our tenth year we’re unashamedly celebrating. Virgin Atlantic have generously donated the use of their hospitality suite at the O2 for our official knees-up at the end of February, and we’re also marking the event with a competition in partnership with Virgin Atlantic to win Flying Club Gold membership for a year. With the dizzying list of benefits Gold brings, it’s a spectacular prize.
Any final thoughts?
I’d just like to say a huge thank you to the volunteer team of moderators who make sure the interactions are always civil. And a bigger thank you to the visitors who continue to keep the site full of vibrant discussion. Who would have thought we’d be around for ten years. Here’s to ten years more.
Visit V-Flyer at www.v-flyer.com.
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About the author: MaxineMaxine 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.