New pride flights from US announced for WorldPride

New pride flights from US announced for WorldPride

Virgin Australia and Qantas have announced new February 2023 pride flights from the United States in celebration of WorldPride, the three-week festival celebrating the LGBT+ community.

On sale from Wednesday, Virgin Australia pride flight services have been significantly expanded, with over 1,000 Pride Flight seats across five flights available to be booked now, or the equivalent of more than double the number of services in comparison to 2022.

Maiden pride flight services operated by Virgin Australia will depart Adelaide and Perth for the first time, joining Melbourne and Brisbane. And United Airlines will fly the first ever Pride Flight from San Francisco to Sydney, in partnership with Virgin Australia (UA863/VA8005), departing on Wednesday 22 February 2023, with all services set to touch down in Sydney on Friday 24 February 2023.

Virgin Australia-operated pride flight services will be hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under stars, Coco Jumbo, Karen From Finance, Kween Kong and Maxi Shield, along with some of Australia’s leading drag talent, including Barbie Q, Penny Tration, Philmah Bocks, Sexy Galexy and Tora Hymen.

Flights from Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth will include a pre-flight departure party with special entertainment by local LGBT+ venues (Fluffy, Sircuit, Mary’s Poppin’ and Connections Nightclub), celebrity appearances, mid-air drag performances, bottomless beverages, including DJ entertainment, dancing, and all of the wonders you’d expect from a rainbow celebration at over 30,000 feet.

On top of this, for the second year running, Sydney’s The Beresford, will host the official pride flight landing party from 4.30pm – 8.30pm with Virgin Australia and United Airlines’ guests set to descend on the venue for complimentary drinks and entertainment – an inclusion in the pride flight ticket price.

Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said the pride flight expansion has been made possible by ongoing support from team members, partners and the broader LGBT+ community.

“At Virgin Australia we pride ourselves on creating a fun, authentic and inclusive workplace and it’s incredibly important that we use our voice to champion the LGBTQIA+ community in the places we live, work and fly,” Hrdlicka said.

Qantas’ WorldPride flight is set to head over from Los Angeles on 22 February, bringing LGBT+ Americans over for the first WorldPride to feature in the Southern Hemisphere.

Onboard Qantas’ WorldPride flight, customers will enjoy an array of experiences hosted by Australian comedian Joel Creasey, including live inflight entertainment, limited edition ‘Rainbow Roo’ Qantas pyjamas designed specifically for the flight and a menu created by Australian chef and Qantas Director of Food, Beverage and Service, Neil Perry.

A general admission ticket to Live and Proud: Sydney WorldPride Opening Concert, featuring special guest performer Kylie Minogue, will be a special gift from Qantas for all passengers on the flight.

Qantas group CEO Alan Joyce said the Australian national carrier was proud to continue its work as a champion for diversity and equal rights, including on LGBT+ issues.

“Supporting the LGBTQI+ community is part of the Qantas spirit and this flight will be operated by members of the Qantas Illuminate network, a community of Qantas LGTBQI+ employees and their allies,” Joyce said.

The Qantas WorldPride flight went on sale on Wednesday with seats bookable at the Qantas website, starting from US$1,545 (AUD$2,463) return. It will be operated by a 236-seat Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with Economy, Premium Economy and Business class cabins. The flight will operate with net zero emissions, with 100 per cent of emissions carbon offset.

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