Virgin America Is Pulling an Elaborate April Fool's Prank

Published On 03/31/2015 Published On 03/31/2015

OK, so this isn't confirmed... but it seems damn well likely. Virgin’s CEO Richard Branson works hard, but he’s known for playing harder -- giving planes saucy names like Miss Behavin' and Hot Lips, and even dressing in drag as a flight attendant. It's obvious the guy has a sense of humor.

And now, for the entrepreneur’s latest joke, a full DAY before April Fool’s: Virgin America has announced that it’ll start operating a weekly flight service to Branson, MO (you probably couldn't find it on a map), but more importantly, the company is moving its US operations from San Francisco to the city of 10,000... because its founder, Ruben S. Branson, is a distant relative of the British music, telecommunications, and travel scion.

It makes so much sense!

Along with flying to Branson from San Francisco, NYC, and LA, and relocating its entire US workforce (yeah, right), the company’s unveiled a new plane called “Jolene” to honor Dolly Parton (the Dixie Stampede’s all the rage in Branson), and building its next Virgin hotel there. Because Branson, MO, is soooo the next Silicon Valley.

The brand even got Explore Branson, the city’s tourism board, to get in on the elaborate joke. Because this has to be a joke. Right? 

Even if the announcement's true, there’s one legitimately real (and cool) part of the ruse: Virgin’s offering a 10% discount on multi-city, nonstop, or connecting flights (to places that aren't Branson) between April 14 - May 21, with the promo code “BRANSON.” The code is only valid until tomorrow, April 1, at 11.59am PT (8.59am EST), though, and seats are subject to availability. You should book that spring vacation before other people get in on the joke. And the savings.

We're not joking around.

Chloe Pantazi is an editorial assistant on Thrillist's travel team. Yes, that's a British accent. No, she doesn't watch Doctor Who. Follow her on Twitter at @ChloePantazi.



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