Virgin Australia has partnered with United Airlines to connect U.S. travellers to Sydney WorldPride onboard a flight staffed entirely by members and allies of the LGBTQI+ community.
Having departed from San Francisco International Airport on Wednesday, it touched down in Sydney on Friday morning with the festivities kicking off at the gate.
While Virgin Australia has offered special domestic flights in Australia for Pride since 2021, this is the first time United is joining this effort.
“As a proud ally of the LGBTQ+ community and the leading carrier from the U.S. to Australia, United is thrilled to join the party and help people celebrate the upcoming Pride events in Sydney,” VP operations, United, Lori Augustine, said.
“At United, we recognize, embrace and celebrate the differences that make our customers and employees unique.
“We’re committed to creating an inclusive work environment while supporting the diverse communities we serve.
“Our Pride Flight is yet another example of how at United, Good Leads the Way.”
CEO at Virgin Australia, Jayne Hrdlicka, said, “Virgin Australia launched our initial Pride Flight in the middle of the pandemic and fast forward to today, we have flights all over Australia, and our very first international Pride Flight from San Francisco with our wonderful partner, United Airlines,”
“It’s so important that we use our voice to promote diversity and inclusion in the communities in which we live, work and fly.
“Our partnership with United Airlines is incredibly important and it’s so wonderful to witness the collaboration between the airlines, and the joy we have brought our guests in spreading pride right across the Pacific and throughout Australia.”
United has an ongoing commitment to LGBTQ+ equality, including a proud history of firsts. In 2019, the airline became the first public company to be inducted into Pride Live’s Stonewall Ambassador program in recognition of the airline’s commitment to LGBTQI+ equality.
United continues to be committed to inclusion and supporting employees to be their full selves at work, which is why in 2021, the airline updated its appearance standards, moving away from gender-specific guidance and allowing customer-facing employees to represent themselves authentically through visible tattoos, nose piercings, hair, make-up, nails and more.