Branson takes off in drag to fulfil F1 bet

Mon Apr 8, 2013 8:53am BST

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson poses with his crew members and a group of Indian folk artists (bottom) during a promotional event in Mumbai October 26, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson poses with his crew members and a group of Indian folk artists (bottom) during a promotional event in Mumbai October 26, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui

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(Reuters) - Richard Branson will take to the skies as an airline stewardess on a charity flight next month to finally fulfil a bet with aviation rival Tony Fernandes over the fortunes of their teams in the 2010 Formula One season.

AirAsia chief Fernandes, who once worked for Branson's music business, bet the British entrepreneur that his Lotus Racing team would do better in their debut season than Virgin Racing team with the loser dressing up as an female flight attendant.

Lotus F1 finished 10th in the constructors' championship to Virgin's 12th and so on May 12, Branson - "complete with make-up, a pair of high heels and freshly shaved legs" - will join the AirAsia X cabin crew on a flight from Perth to Kula Lumpur.

"The day of reckoning for Sir Richard has finally arrived," Fernandes said in an AirAsia news release on Monday.

"It's an awkward moment when you go down memory lane and recall the times I used to work for Richard. And it's hilarious to think now, that it's Richard who will be working for me as a sassy flight attendant."

Members of the public can purchase tickets for the flight for A$399 ($410) with A$100 of the fare going to Australian charity Starlight Children's Foundation.

Branson is no longer involved in Formula One with the Virgin team now competing as Marussia Racing, while Fernandes's team has since been renamed Caterham F1.

($1 = 0.9635 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O'Brien)

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