Virgin Atlantic 'air-prentice' tests fleet makeover

Sir Richard Branson has enlisted the help of a 10-year-old competition winner to test the cabins on Virgin Atlantic's fleet of newly revamped 747s in the airline's latest campaign.

Billy Yeomans, from Chichester, won Branson's competition to find the airline’s first "junior approvals manager".

He was chosen out of 600 applicants. Yeomans, a self-confessed aviation enthusiast, impressed judges by recreating a plane cabin in his home.

He acquired two business-class seats, 30 safety cards, and "navigated" his father on a faux-journey to Switzerland.

The refitted 747 fleet has undergone what Virgin Atlantic says is a 95,000-hour refit. This includes a new in-flight entertainment system, a new on-board menu, and redesigned seats, as part of the airline's £100m spend on improving customer services and developing new products, announced last year.

Yeomans, who has filed his report for Branson, will now be in charge of giving the airline's president an informed opinion of any future developments to Virgin Atlantic's aircraft that are focused on children.

Branson said: "As a child, I was mad about planes and the sense of adventure and excitement of being in the sky.

"We wanted to find someone who feels the same way as I still do about flying. Billy was the perfect young man for the job and he is going to be giving our newly refitted 747s the once-over – watching films, eating our food and rating our wonderful cabin crew. Hopefully, he'll have great fun doing it too."

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1 Brands that forge an emotional tie are best protected from copycats

Forging an emotional tie with consumers is one of the strongest ways to protect your brand. Products can be copycatted, but the distinctive identity of a true brand can never be replicated argues Nir Wegrzyn, CEO of BrandOpus.

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