Virgin boss Richard Branson was the brunt of a thousand jokes on Saturday night as he donned a skirt and a full face of make-up on a flight to Malaysia.
Sir Richard Branson, 62, swapped his boxer shorts for a pair of stockings after losing a Grand Prix bet with AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes two years ago.
The billionaire – who even shaved his legs for the flight – served drinks and pledged to clean the toilets on the special flight – all while sporting the red AirAsia uniform, which included a skirt suit and crisp white shirt.
Pulling his blonde locks back into clips, Branson completed his fresh new look with a sweep of red lipstick and a fetching set of false eyelashes.
Putting on a brave face, Richard Branson finally made good on the bet that he lost two years ago – after being too busy to see it through any earlier.
Richard Branson forced to dress as a stewardess after losing Formula 1 bet with AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes
“We both had Grand Prix teams and I was absolutely certain that I was going to win,” he said.
“Something went wrong. Of course the drivers of that race are no longer with us.
“I went to extreme lengths to avoid being here, but knew that one day I had to get it over with.”
The funds from the flight went to the Starlight Foundation for ill children, but as to how far Richard Branson would go for charity, he said he’d keep his famous beard.
“Have you not seen a stewardess with a beard before?” he asked before boarding the six hour flight.
Malaysian-born Tony Fernandes, who described Richard Branson as his mentor, used to work for Branson before setting up his own budget airline.
“As an AirAsia X’s flight attendant, he has to comply with our grooming standards and that includes shaving his legs, donning high heels, putting on some makeup and slipping into the AirAsia’s famous red uniform,” said the airline chief.
“He will be committed to carry out the responsibilities of a flight attendant, including offering coffee, tea and other food and beverages to guests on the special 6-hour Perth to Kuala Lumpur flight.”
Tweeting before the flight, Tony Fernandes wrote: “Anyone want a free flight up to Kuala Lumpur and be served by Richard Branson who lives in Perth. I got 2 to give.”
“I’ve done some outrageous things in my time but this will be up there with the best of them,” Richard Branson added before he boarded.
“I’ve just got to practice walking in high heels first.”
Fang Daguo, a Chinese official accused of beating a flight attendant, has been suspended from his post pending an investigation, Chinese state media say.
Fang Daguo was described by Xinhua as a senior official from Yuexiu District in Guangdong province.
He was accused of attacking the stewardess in a row over luggage on a flight from Hefei to Guangzhou last week.
Fang Daguo was initially exonerated of blame in a local probe, creating an angry buzz among netizens and then state media.
The incident on Wednesday came to light after the attendant, employed by China Southern Airlines, reported it on her microblog.
Her account was retweeted more than 30,000 times, Shanghai Daily reported. Pictures of bruises, scratches and a rip in her uniform received during the alleged assault were also posted online.
Pictures of bruises, scratches and a rip in flight attendant’s uniform received during the alleged assault were posted online
On Friday a statement from the local government blamed Fang Daguo’s wife for the incident, but exonerated the official himself and said both parties had reached an agreement.
But netizens and then Xinhua news agency questioned the official account.
Fang Daguo was described by Xinhua as a senior official from Yuexiu District in Guangdong province
Xinhua ran a report on Saturday which largely confirmed the attendant’s account, quoting an eyewitness who was on the flight.
It said the altercation was triggered by an argument over where to place carry-on baggage, because the overhead luggage compartments were full.
In a report posted late on Monday, it said the couple “both smelt strongly of alcohol”, citing the eyewitness.
An editorial from the Global Times described conflicts between officials and the public as “increasingly problematic”.
“Public opinion is taking an unprecedentedly stern line on the restraining of power,” it said.
“This is why any official’s improper actions, whatever the circumstances, can boil over into a public event drawing nationwide attention.”
China’s internet users are increasingly vocal in their online criticism of officials perceived to have done wrong.
Last week, an investigation was launched into a safety official.
Images showed him grinning at the scene of a fatal road crash and outraged netizens then turned up several photos of him wearing a series of expensive watches.