On Tuesday we celebrated the launch of service to our 20th destination at Newark International Airport. It seems like just yesterday that I was attending my first launch event in Orlando, complete with Sir Richard Branson decked out in Awkward Family Vacation gear. I couldn’t help but get a little nostalgic to think that we’re now celebrating our 20th destination and our 53rd aircraft — named “Jersey Girl” by our Facebook fans. We’ve come a long ways in the past three years!
This launch event did not disappoint. Since Newark is a prime destination for business travelers, we launched a “Fly Like A Boss” Facebook promotion in March and also encouraged folks to tweet how they like to #FlyLikeABoss for a chance to appear on our digital billboard outside the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey.
A few of our contest winners scored a trip for two on our new route and invitations to our Newark launch festivities. To help us kick things off, we wrangled together two of our favorite entrepreneurs. Our Chief Rabblerouser Richard Branson and Mashable CEO and Founder Pete Cashmore joined us for a Google+ Hangout on Air onboard one of our WiFi-equipped planes along with our “Fly Like A Boss” contest winners and budding entrepreneurs from KIPP Team Charter Schools in Newark to discuss how technology has changed business and travel. Watch the full Hangout below (just ignore the dorky girl who introduces the Hangout participants — so embarrassing).
We’re proud to be partnering up with KIPP to fund college trips for up-and-coming junior high school entrepreneurs. The most memorable moment of the Hangout was when one of the young KIPP students asked Sir Richard, “I hear you’re a Knight. Have you ever slayed any dragons?” So cute. In true Richard-fashion he quickly quipped back that the dragons he’s most concerned with are our competition. Given that Newark fares on LA and SF routes have dropped by 40% since we entered the market, I’d say Richard is a bonafide dragon-slayer.
After the Hangout Richard joined our CEO David Cush, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, and Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni for a red carpet reception and press conference at the gate. Richard shared stories of flying into Newark 30 years ago on Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural flight into the U.S. only to realize upon landing that he’d forgotten something important. “Your cell phone?” the KIPP students asked. (Double cute!) No…his passport. Luckily he didn’t forget it this time — or his phone.
We want to send a shout out to all of our smiling teammates who helped set up our Newark station and pull off a great event. Don’t they look fly?
Check out the full photo album of the days festivities on Facebook here and watch the video below. And if you’re looking to “Fly Like a Boss” soon with WiFi, live TV, power outlets, and more — grab yourself a seat on our Newark route.