With the design of its Airbus A350, Virgin Atlantic wants to promote diversity and empowerment. In reality, however, the illustrations lack some LGBTQ+-related details.
Queen of Hearts, Red Velvet, Mamma Mia and Rain Bow are the names of the first four of twelve Airbus A350-1000s that Virgin Atlantic has taken delivery of since last September. The British long-haul airline had also decided to focus more on diversity in naming new aircraft: Instead of decorating the jets with illustrations of all white women, it is now adding all genders and other skin colors.
With its new «Flying Icons», Virgin Atlantic wants to fly the flag for diversity and empowerment. The male figures were also to wear body-hugging suits, some with rainbow stripes. At least that’s what Virgin Atlantic showed at the presentation of the illustrations last April – in reality, the illustrations are much more subdued.
More clothes, less skin
Photos from various spotter databases show that the four Airbus A350-1000s are now wearing different figures than originally shown. Contrary to the first presentation they are wearing long trousers, T-shirts or shirts and shoes. The clothing is still tight-fitting, but shows less skin. And: there are no more rainbow colours to be seen.
«The Flying Icons we released initially were early iterations of the designs and we’re thrilled to introduce the final images on each of our aircraft,» a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson told Paddle Your Own Kanoo.
Some destinations show less tolerance
«Whilst the design details may have changed slightly, the concept is very much the same – images that feature a diverse range of men and women who represent modern Britain,» the spokesperson continues. It is unclear though, why Virgin Atlantic made the adjustments. On Social Media some users accuse the airline of trying to avoid homophobic criticism. Virgin Atlantic also flies to countries such as India and Nigeria where homosexuality is still viewed as a taboo.
In the picture gallery above you can see the Flying Icons of Virgin Atlantic.