Virgin has flown the England football team to Qatar in a plane called “Rain Bow” alongside the company’s LGBTQ+ icon, Oscar.
However, on the same flight, Virgin suspended its gender-neutral uniform policy to “ensure the safety of our people” after considering “laws and attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community and expressions of identity,” in the country.
The Airbus A350 that flew the team to Qatar, featured Oscar, a man wearing a blue shirt and jeans with rainbow-striped trainers, pulling a Union Flag behind him.
A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said: “As a British flag carrier, we’re proud to fly the England Men’s Football team to the FIFA World Cup.
“At Virgin Atlantic we believe that everyone can take on the world.
“Aircraft G-VPRD, also known as Rain Bow, which proudly displays our LGBTQ+ flying icon, will be flying the team to the tournament.”
But the company said that, while it was “proud” of its gender identity policy that lets staff wear the Vivienne Westwood-designed uniforms including options for trousers, skits, blazers, and ties in either red or burgundy, it chose to suspend the option on the flight.
“Following a risk assessment, it was recommended the policy was not applied on today’s charter flight to ensure the safety of our people.”
Virgin launched its gender identity policy in September, which also lets staff choose pronoun badges with options such as “she/her” and “they/them.”
“At Virgin Atlantic, we believe that everyone can take on the world, no matter who they are,” Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic’s chief commercial officer, said at the launch of the policy.
“That’s why it’s so important that we enable our people to embrace their individuality and be their true selves at work. It is for that reason that we want to allow our people to wear the uniform that best suits them and how they identify and ensure our customers are addressed by their preferred pronouns.”
There is no commercial relationship between England’s Football Association and Virgin Atlantic.
To be clear, FA and England did not choose the plan. Virgin put the plane on the route.
— Alex Howell (@iamAlexHowell) November 15, 2022
Lufthansa flew the German team to Qatar in a special “diversity plane” featuring a colourful mural of people with their arms around one another, devised with German illustrator Peter Phobia.
A statement from the airline said: “Lufthansa is a byword for openness, tolerance, diversity and bringing people together.
“The company enables its customers from all nations and cultures to connect, and welcomes everyone aboard, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, religion, nationality, identity or sexual orientation.”
The internet was split fairly evenly down the middle — largely based on which bit of the story the person had read.
— South Coast Cyclist (@CoastCyclist) November 15, 2022
— Brett Herriot (@BrettHerriot) November 15, 2022
Ah, what’s that @VirginAtlantic?
— Connor (@noccor) November 15, 2022
Lol..more virtue signalling exposed.
“Virgin Atlantic has said its gender-neutral uniform policy does not apply to the crew on board the England team’s flight to the World Cup in Qatar.”
— Adam Brooks 🇬🇧 (@EssexPR) November 15, 2022
Is this the same Virgin Atlantic airline company who helped Theresa May deport LGBTQ+ people to their deaths? Just checking! https://t.co/6mOHqlYR7r
— tom (@tomrade_) November 15, 2022
Virgin Atlantic recently: We now have a gender-neutral uniform policy for our crew yay! 👏🏼
Also Virgin Atlantic: Oh btw the gender-neutral uniform policy won’t apply for flights to the World Cup.
— Chris Rose (@ArchRose90) November 15, 2022
Lead image credit: Sky News.