Branson gives AirAsia a serve as cross-dressing flight attendant

Virgin Airlines founder Sir Richard Branson has given AirAsia a big serve by tipping a tray of orange juice over the Asian airline's CEO Tony Fernandes on a flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur.

Sir Richard was honouring a bet he lost to Mr Fernandes by serving as a frocked-up flight attendant on the 5-hour AirAsia X flight on Sunday.

Wearing lipstick, false eyelashes and mascara, Sir Richard dressed in a sexy red skirt, fishnet stockings and high heels to deliver the drinks.

He deliberately tipped the tray in front of more than 300 astonished passengers.

"I could have killed him," Mr Fernandes said. "I should have realised. He had this tray and was standing right in front of me. I looked into his eyes and thought 'oh no, he's going to do it', and he did."

I am a great believer about throwing myself into life and having a bit of fun and making sure everyone has a laugh.

Sir Richard also tottered along the aisles and chatted with passengers before walking into a media frenzy at Kuala Lumpur airport where television cameras sought to get footage of him in drag.

Mr Fernandes got some revenge by tipping a bottle of champagne over him on a welcome podium at the LCCT airport terminal.

For his part in the stunt, Mr Fernandes has vowed to become one of the first passengers to go into space with Virgin Galactic.

Sir Richard and Mr Fernandes, who once worked for the Virgin group in television production, are good friends.


"Like a lot of people that work for me, he wanted to become an entrepreneur," Sir Richard said. "Hats off to him. He has made a big difference to the travelling public of Asia."

The two had a wager in 2010 on which one of their Grand Prix formula one teams would beat the other. Mr Fernandes' Lotus team finished two spots above the Virgin team.

"I've always said I am a man of my word and I am happy to have finally honoured the bet," said Sir Richard. "If you say you are going to do something, you obviously have to stick to your word. As it turned out, I broke a leg [skiing in Europe], Prince William took the spotlight off us by deciding to get married and then my house burnt down (on Necker Island). Three things distracted us, but it is finally done."

Sir Richard said he went to many women's shops to find red high heels to fit him. "I had no luck, but then finally found them at a drag queen shop."

AirAsia X contributed $100 from every seat sold on the plane to the Starlight Children's Foundation. A charity event in Perth on Saturday night, at which Sir Richard dropped his pants and shaved his legs, also raised $200,000.

Sir Richard said he would have no qualms about having another similar bet.

"I am a great believer about throwing myself into life and having a bit of fun and making sure everyone has a laugh.

"I like to give people a smile. We used to have entertainers on our [Virgin] planes and I am thinking about reintroducing them. Musicians, comedians, drag queens and others could get the chance to fly for free if they entertain the passengers. It is something I am seriously considering to bring back soon."

Robert Upe flew courtesy of AirAsia X.