Virgin Atlantic today celebrates its 500th Wings Ceremony for 20 of its most recently trained cabin crew at the airline’s Head Office in Crawley, near Gatwick. The Wings Ceremony is the culmination and celebration of the intense six week training course that all cabin crew have to complete before starting their flying career with Virgin Atlantic.
The first group to receive their Virgin Atlantic ‘wings’ was in June 1984 when the airline was started and since then more than 9000 cabin crew have taken to the skies with Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic currently employs around 3500 cabin crew.
Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic, commented:
“We are very proud to have trained these crew and receiving ‘wings’ is a fantastic achievement. Virgin Atlantic cabin crew are renowned for doing a fantastic job and I wish them the very best of luck in their new roles. I am sure that they will go on to be a great success.
“I couldn’t have imagined that when the airline started in 1984 that we would have got to our 500th wings ceremony - this is a huge milestone for Virgin Atlantic. With the airline’s plan to double in capacity over the next five years, hopefully we will reach the next 500th wing ceremony much quicker.”
The ceremony is hosted by a Service Training Instructor and comprises of the instructors from each area talking about the individual elements of training. A Virgin Atlantic Director then presents the newly appointed cabin crew with their ‘wings’. Friends and family of the crew are invited to attend and stay for champagne and canapés.
The training course takes place at the Virgin Atlantic Flight Centre in Horley. The course starts with four days of an induction service where the trainees are trained in interpersonal skills, brand and commercial awareness and special needs training. During this time trainees are also taught about the Virgin Atlantic product and how to deliver and provide excellent service.
This is followed by twelve days of Safety and Emergency Procedures (SEP) and then five days in Aviation Medicine training, an intensive course where trainees learn first aid and how to cope with a variety of medical emergencies onboard, from skills in resuscitation to handling a cardiac arrest with a defibrillator. There is three days of SEP conversion, which enables crew to work on both Airbus A340-300 and A340-600 aircraft. There is then eight days of learning the delivery of product, service, customer care and service excellence. The course then concludes with three days spent doing SEP that enables them to work on Boeing 747-400 aircraft.