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Billionaire Sir Richard Branson Surprises Entire Delta Flight with a Free Cruise on Virgin Voyages’ Newest Ship

The Virgin Group founder, 73, boarded a flight headed from Atlanta to San Juan to surprise some lucky passengers with a cruise on his 'Resilient Lady'

<p>Chris Rank/ Rank Studios</p> Sir Richard Branson

Chris Rank/ Rank Studios

Sir Richard Branson

A few lucky travelers were in for a sunny surprise when they boarded a Delta flight on Thursday.

As a group of people got on a flight heading directly from Atlanta to San Juan, one rather surprising guest joined them — billionaire Sir Richard Branson, who was there to announce that every single Delta SkyMiles member passenger on the plane (over age 18) would be gifted a free cruise on his newest ship, the Resilient Lady.

<p>Chris Rank/ Rank Studios</p> Delta Air Lines passengers

Chris Rank/ Rank Studios

Delta Air Lines passengers

“The Caribbean has been my home for many years, and I’m very excited to welcome Resilient Lady as she sails from San Juan to visit the region’s most beautiful destinations,” Branson said in a press release. “My excitement clearly couldn’t be contained, so we came up with a way to  celebrate with a personal invitation and surprise for some unsuspecting guests on a Delta flight to San Juan.”

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According to the release, the flight from Atlanta to San Juan was chosen specifically because of the Resilient Lady’s homeport in the Puerto Rican city.

<p>Chris Rank/ Rank Studios</p>

Chris Rank/ Rank Studios

“We’re grateful for our partners at Delta who joined in on the fun and have also been long-time venture partners of our airline, Virgin Atlantic,” Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, finished. “We look forward to showing everyone what it’s like to ‘Set Sail the Virgin Way!’”

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The giveaways began even before the flight took off for Puerto Rico. Before boarding, Branson took over the Delta departure gate, bringing passengers waiting at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport pre-flight entertainment from dancers, drinks, music and prize wheels — where guests had the chance to win Delta and Virgin Atlantic flights, Virgin Hotel stays, a Virgin cruise, a Delta Vacation package, gift cards and other branded swag — which all travelers had a chance to spin before getting on the plane.

<p>Chris Rank/ Rank Studios</p> Sir Richard Branson at the gate with lucky passengers

Chris Rank/ Rank Studios

Sir Richard Branson at the gate with lucky passengers

Delta executive Tim Mapes also joined the billionaire for the festivities, adding that “when two award-winning brands come together, they create magic for their customers.”

“Delta is thrilled to have partnered with Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages for this special surprise-and-delight for our SkyMiles Members on the flight,” Mapes said in the release. “This is one more way in which we’re adding value to the program and unlocking exclusive experiences for our Members. Stay tuned for more with Virgin Voyages.”

<p>Chris Rank/ Rank Studios</p> Delta Air Lines passengers

Chris Rank/ Rank Studios

Delta Air Lines passengers

After its summer season abroad, the Resilient Lady is set to head to its new homeport in San Juan in fall 2024.

Virgin Voyages has also added brand new travel itineraries in the Caribbean and Latin America, featuring stays ranging from one week to 11 days with stops in St. Maarten, St. Vincent, Colombia and Dominica.

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