Richard Branson Parties In Vegas For Virgin America’s New Route
Cutting the ribbon in San Francisco on Wednesday, Virgin America founder Sir Richard Branson then boarded the first Virgin America flight to Vegas with a bevy of celebrities and hand picked guests. During the short flight, Branson officiated over the wedding between Dimitrios and Coco Papadogonas in the front of the plane’s first class section. No word if they also joined the mile-high club to start their honeymoon.
The plane touched down at McCarran and actress Carmen Electra was the first to enter the terminal to the sounds of Elvis crooning “Viva Las Vegas” with showgirls and an Elvis impersonator greeting everyone. Branson was the last to enter and gave a short speech.
“It’s great to be here in Las Vegas,” he said to the crowd waiting in the terminal. “We have Virgin Atlantic flights here, and now to have another airline with Virgin on its tail flying domestically to Vegas, I think we’re ready to shake up the American airline scene here.”
As reported on Wednesday, Branson had set up a stunt that involved him repelling down the side of the Palms Fantasy Tower as part of the celebration. Vegas’ own Penn & Teller showed up to introduce the entrepreneur, with Penn jokingly asking the audience to join him in yelling, “jump, jump, jump.”
Unfortunately during the stunt, which involved Branson freefalling in a harness 407 feet, high winds caused him to hit the side of the building several times. The mogul was seen hobbling slightly after he was unhooked and later confirmed that he had injured his back and hand, along with ripping his trousers during the stunt.
But Branson was well enough to continue with the planned festivities, which included a celebrity poker tournament at the Wynn.
During the red carpet at the Wynn, he was standing next to Pamela Anderson when, after joking he needed to go beat her husband at poker, he stunned the actress by picking her up and flipping her upside down. Anderson pleaded with him to put her down, amidst a fit of giggles. His back must have been feeling much better.
Sitting next to the dealer, Branson did fairly well at the tables. But the real winner was the charity chosen by the night’s winner that was to get $10,000.
Virgin America is a welcome addition to the list of airlines that serves Las Vegas. I look forward to them expanding their routes into the city. For more information on the airline, please read our earlier story, Virgin America Flies Into Vegas.
More photos from the celebration: