Virgin atlantic: The airline that Sir Richard Branson built is 30
Travel by numbers
Simon Calder is Travel Editor at Large for The Independent, writing a weekly column, various articles and features as well as filming a weekly video diary. Every Sunday afternoon, Simon presents the UK's only radio travel phone-in programme called The LBC Travel Show with Simon Calder (97.3 FM). He is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, ITV News and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme and BBC Five Live.
Sunday 22 June 2014
0: Amount of champagne remaining when Virgin Atlantic's maiden flight, from Gatwick to Newark, made landfall in North America on 22 June, 1984.
1: Number of free economy tickets for future flights provided to Upper Class passengers; this "buy one, get one free" policy lasted for several years.
1.14: YouTube views, in millions, of the November 1997 emergency landing of a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340 at Heathrow. At the end of a flight from Los Angeles, the landing gear failed to extend properly. All passengers and crew survived. You can watch the touchdown here: bit.ly/SafeLanding.
2: Terminal at Heathrow to be served by Virgin's domestic airline offshoot, Little Red, from 10 September; until then, it's dismal old Terminal 1. International services depart from Terminal 3, except for some code-share flights operated by Delta from Terminal 4.
2: Number of airports served by Virgin Atlantic in London (Heathrow and Gatwick), New York (Newark and JFK), California (Los Angeles and San Francisco), Canada (Toronto and Vancouver, the latter summer-only), and India (Mumbai and Delhi).
3: UK destinations currently served from Heathrow: Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
3: Percentage of slots at Heathrow owned by Virgin Atlantic; British Airways has 53 per cent.
3: UK airports offering Virgin flights to Orlando in Florida: Gatwick, Glasgow and Manchester.
4: European destinations served by Virgin Atlantic over the years: Dublin, Maastricht, Athens and Moscow.
6: Caribbean islands served from Gatwick: Antigua, Barbados, Cuba, Grenada, Jamaica and St Lucia.
8: Number of seats in the original Upper Class in the 747's "bubble".
40: Aircraft in Virgin's fleet. The oldest is a 20-year-old Jumbo jet named Lady Penelope. The fleet is being refreshed, with new Airbus A330 aircraft and, from later this year, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
44: Flight number of Las Vegas-Gatwick service, which began in 2000.
50: Films offered on demand aboard Virgin's A330, A340 and 747 aircraft.
78: Length, in inches, of lie-flat bed in today's Upper Class.
88: Lowest fare, in dollars, charged by Virgin for a New York-London flight; it applied in 1988 for standby trips.
1992: Year when Mid Class began as a separate cabin between Upper Class and Economy; now Premium Economy.
5,978: Distance in miles to Virgin's furthest destination, Hong Kong (Tokyo is just 40 miles closer).
600,000,000: Pounds paid by Singapore Airlines for 49-per-cent slice of Virgin Atlantic in 1999; sold in 2012 to the US airline, Delta, for £224m.
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