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Virgin Atlantic launches 'Pride' flight with LGBTQ crew

Tickets for a Virgin Atlantic “Pride flight” hosted by Netflix star Tituss Burgess and an LGBTQ crew and pilots went on sale today.

The one-off flight from Heathrow to Newark airport in New York will take off on 28 June 2019, to coincide with WorldPride as it marks the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots.

Entertainment on the eight-hour flight will be led by Burgess, who stars in hit show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and is also a Broadway actor, and will include an onboard DJ, drag queen bingo, Judy Garland singalong, inter-seat speed-dating and live performances.

Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays teamed up with non-profit tourism organisation NYC & Company and the Alliance for Downtown New York, who help manage the district, for the flight. Return dates are flexible, with economy tickets starting at £380 and a three-night room and flight package from £699.

“We’re not the type of company to mark an occasion like this half-heartedly: we’re going to be pulling out all the stops,” said Mark Anderson, executive vice-president of Virgin Atlantic and global LGBT lead for Virgin Group. “We take our commitments to diversity and inclusion seriously, but you can rest assured we have a lot of fun along the way.”

The Stonewall riots are widely acknowledged as having sparked the mainstream gay rights movement, with the first gay pride marches taking place across the US the following year.

The Stonewall 50 edition of WorldPride NYC will feature more than 50 events, including marches, parties, talks, performance, film and more during June 2019, culminating in the Pride march on 30 June.

Last month, female drag act Lacey Lou (real name Lacey McFayden) claimed she was dropped from the Virgin Atlantic ad for the pride flight because she’s a woman. A spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic insisted that McFayden was not rejected because of her gender, but that the final choices were based on “aesthetics, ethnicity, height and performance”.

For more information on Virgin’s Pride flight, visit virginatlantic.com

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