Lonely Planet Writer

One airline is encouraging passengers to pilfer its salt and pepper shakers

While airlines would naturally prefer if passengers refrained from stealing onboard items. Virgin Atlantic is making an exception over the Christmas period by actively encouraging the “theft” of the salt and pepper shakers in its Upper Class cabins. The shakers, named Wilbur and Orville, are festive red versions of the airline’s highly collectable silver and black shakers, which are shaped like mini planes.

Virgin Atlantic is encouraging passengers to steal its Wilbur and Orville shakers. Image: Virgin Atlanic

They will be available onboard flights from 21 to 26 December, and Virgin is encouraging customers to pinch them and take them home to take pride of place on the Christmas dinner table or else gift them to an aviation enthusiast relative. The sweet shakers have ‘Pinched from Virgin Atlantic’ stamped on their feet, and the airline has revealed that the regular silver shakers come top of the list of items pilfered from flights and have even ended up being sold on eBay. Other popular items to nick include mugs in Upper Class and Premium Economy, blankets from all cabins, Noble Isle hand wash and hand cream from the bathrooms, cutlery, safety cards, and surprisingly, sick bags.

“When we launched Wilbur and Orville over 15 years ago we had no idea they’d become so iconic and loved by our customers,” says Mark Anderson, executive vice president customer at Virgin Atlantic. “Although our cabin crew keep a close eye on them, thousands have been pinched over the years as customers like to take home a special memento of their Virgin Atlantic flight. This Christmas we’re shaking things up by introducing limited edition red sets of Wilbur and Orville on all flights, and expect to see them fly off the planes.”

Virgin Atlantic is also encouraging passengers to share their snaps on Twitter of where Wilbur and Orville have been using the hashtag #pinchedfrom.