Let me start this post by saying you will not find two fiercer advocates of LGBTQ+ people than me and Joe. We’ve volunteered at Pride and GayDays events, walked in Pride parades, embraced all that was at a street festival in the Castro (thank-you Jimmy & David!) and supported many a gay bar by buying drinks and seeing shows. We’ve been advocates and told bigots why they were wrong, and we’ve been longtime donors to multiple local and national LGBTQ-centric organizations. We know twinks from bears, tops from bottoms and are familiar with the hanky code. And yes, some of our best friends really ARE gay.
So when I read that Virgin Atlantic was going to celebrate Pride 2019 with the first ever (known) flight staffed entirely by LGBTQ+ people next June, I felt no shame that the first words out of my mouth were a very stereotypical, “It’s gonna be FABULOUS!!!!!” because that’s precisely what I think it’s going to be.
Here’s more info about the event:
NYC & Company (that’s New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization – who knew they even had one?) and Virgin Atlantic are teaming up to present this one-time-only “Pride Flight” celebration at 38,000 feet. The flight will be staffed entirely by LGBTQ+ pilots and cabin crew and its goal is to celebrate queer culture.
The event will happen on June 28, 2019 and will fly from London to New York City. That date and location is no coincidence, by the way – the day marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Stonewall riots and will be at the tail end of the month when NYC will be hosting World Pride – the first time a U.S. city will host the annual event. Established in the year 2000, World Pride is an international event designed to celebrate Pride for countries where homosexual activity is still illegal or repressed. Previous host cities have included Rome, London and Toronto.
Tituss Burgess, Broadway actor and star of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will be the master of ceremonies on the flight, which is planned to have on-board entertainment including Drag Queen BINGO, a Judy Garland sing-along, inter-seat speed dating and an on-board DJ.
“I’m proud to partner with Virgin Holidays and Virgin Atlantic to mark this occasion in style and celebrate the hard-won freedoms from those who came before us,” said Burgess in a statement. “At a time when we’re seeing the rights of minority groups under threat, it is more important than ever we stand up and make our voices heard.”
Mark Anderson, Global LGBT Lead for Virgin Group and Executive Vice President at Virgin Atlantic said: “We’re not the type of company to mark an occasion like this half-heartedly and we’re going to be pulling out all the stops to ensure the Pride Flight is delivered with a large serving of Virgin flair. We take our commitments to diversity and inclusion seriously, but you can rest assured we have a lot of fun along the way. This is going to be a show-stopping, ground-breaking, one-of-a-kind experience that we can’t wait to bring to the skies next June.”
The Pride Flight will take off from London Heathrow Airport on June 28, 2019 and arrive at Newark Liberty Airport. Economy tickets start at £380 ($500), or travelers can buy a three-night Virgin Holidays package. There are three packages to choose from, which include stays at different New York City hotels. For £699 ($920), travelers will stay for three nights at the Hudson New York Central Park, for £799 ($1,055), travelers can stay for three nights at the The Beekman Hotel, and for £1,369 ($1,808) travelers are eligible to stay for three nights at The Four Seasons New York Downtown.
A percentage of each ticket sold will be donated to The Attitude Magazine Foundation, which works to advance community Pride initiatives in the U.K. Other fundraisers will take place on board the flight.
Between the drag queens, Judy Garland and inter-seat dating, the whole things sounds as stereotypical as can be and, of course, might be a little “too Nellie” for some. But for those who live and/or appreciate that particular arm of the LGBTQ+ culture, it could sound like a WHOLE lot of fun (I’ll fully admit that I’m trying to figure out how to get Joe to agree for us to go!). For more information or to book your tickets, go to the Pride Flight booking page. (ETA: As of Oct. 16, 2018, the flight appears to be sold out.)
*** All images from Virgin Holidays
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary