In February 2009 I was part of the team that picked up Virgin Australia’s (then V Australia) first Boeing 777-300ER. Having arrived into the airline in June 2008, it had been a long 7 months – very long – but now we were about to get an aeroplane – and fly it. For the benefit of those in the team that couldn’t come along (and we took a lot of them with us!) – I blogged the journey on our internal website all those years ago. Ten years later – to the day – these are those blogs.
Part Ten of the V Australia Boeing 777 Delivery Flight blog has us wining and dining with Virgin royalty.
I was barely packed and organised when I had to get ready for the pickup to the big function this evening. This was the one where Sir Richard Branson was coming, along with Brett Godfrey, Scott Swift and a host of other Virgin who’s who – this was the biggie. With Alcohol.
A quick photo in the foyer and we were off. Another quick photo when we got there, and in we went.
Several busses drove us to the function hall which was decked out for the occasion. Tasteful hors d’oeuvres accompanied free-flowing drinks until the VIPs rolled up and we all sat.
The dinner was excellent and came in several small courses that were interspersed with chat as people moved from table to table to meet and greet.
I met and chatted with several people from all areas of our industry – ILFC, Macquarie Bank, AAPT, ATW. It was fascinating and not a little daunting, although everyone I met was genuinely great to talk to. I spoke at length with an elderly couple who live in Canada but come from the Uk. It was quite some time – and several visits – before I found out they were Brett Godfrey’s In-laws (what stories could I have heard there had I known!)
Sir Richard (who’d just go off a plane) to his credit worked the room meeting as many people as he could, having lots of photos taken with V/VB employees from all walks of life. The man was tireless.
Brett Godfrey also worked the room and spoke personally to many people from his company. The night was great fun and a real eye-opener for someone like myself who has come from a company with a completely different culture.
Eventually, it had to end. Boeing wound it down with an invitation to a bar called Cowgirls Inc – something of a Seattle Institution and a Boeing favourite, judging by the way I saw one of their senior exec’s riding the electric bull!. I won’t speak more about the rest evening, I’ll just leave you with these two photos.
Tomorrow is the Boeing Field to LAX flight – where all the planning, preparation and effort that has gone into the last few days to my benefit – instead becomes part of my responsibilities. Dave and I are ready, and can’t wait. Some sleep would be nice first though!
The following is the anthology of associated posts. Note they become active (approximately) 10 years after the original events. So you can wait until they all drop to read them all in sequence – or read them as they come down. Or not!
- 03.Feb.2009 03:30 : Off into The Night
- 03.Feb.2009 07:00 : Melbourne Airport
- 03.Feb.2009 09:00 : Sydney (Outbound!)
- 03.Feb.2009 16:35 : Auckland
- 04.Feb.2009 13:30 : Los Angeles
- 03.Feb.2009 17:00 : Seattle
- 04.Feb.2009 17:00 : A Day in Seattle
- 04.Feb.2009 23:00 : Party Time!
- 05.Feb.2009 12:00 : Seattle Tour
- 05.Feb.2009 19:00 : Delivery Party
- 06.Feb.2009 12:30 : First Flight – Seattle Boeing Field BFI – Los Angeles LAX
- 07.Feb.2009 12:30 : Down to the Checkered Flag
- 09.Feb.2009 10:30 : VA9090 LAX-SYD – We Have An Airline