[Fox Business] Richard Branson surprises some Delta passengers with free cruise

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Some lucky passengers on a Delta Air Lines flight are riding a wave of excitement after being gifted a free cruise by Virgin Group founder Richard Branson on Thursday.

Every Delta SkyMiles member over 18 years old on the direct flight from Atlanta to San Juan, Puerto Rico, was given the opportunity to sail on Virgin Voyages’ Resilient Lady during the ship’s inaugural season in San Juan later this year.

Branson, known for eccentric stunts, gifted the travelers the trip personally in celebration of Resilient Lady’s new homeport in San Juan.

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“My excitement clearly couldn’t be contained, so we came up with a way to celebrate with a personal invitation and surprise for some unsuspecting guests on a Delta flight to San Juan,” Branson said in a statement. 

Virgin Voyages also hosted a party at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport gate, featuring a prize wheel all guests were invited to spin. Prizes included Delta and Virgin Atlantic flights, Virgin Hotel stays, a Virgin Voyages cruise, Delta Vacations package and gift cards.

It comes months after Delta CEO Ed Bastian announced the company was updating its frequent flyer program after recent changes upset some of its most loyal customers.

The chief executive said in October that Delta will make it easier for loyalty members to reach Medallion status starting in 2025. It will also make its clubs more accessible to certain customers for longer periods.

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“It’s been a challenge to balance the growth of our membership with our need to deliver premium service experiences,” Bastian said at the time. “We made some difficult program decisions to address this issue and ensure we are delivering elevated service to our Members. But your response made clear that the changes did not fully reflect the loyalty you have demonstrated to Delta.” 

Virgin Group’s Virgin Atlantic and Delta have been in a joint-venture partnership since 2014.

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