© Image Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic recently launched its new daily service from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv. But preparing for a new route takes a lot of careful consideration for an airline…

Not only do they have to work out the logistics and operational side of things, they also have to prepare their employees for a new destination. And when it came to getting cabin crew Tel Aviv ready, Virgin Atlantic took a new approach.

Wherever Virgin Atlantic flies, they like to showcase the destination with the stand-out Virgin flair while remaining sensitive to cultural expectations. In preparation for the launch of the Tel Aviv route, they ran two Jewish cultural experience days in London for the onboard managers who will be operating the route.

This included workshops discussing Jewish customs, religious laws and festivals, and an in-depth look at kosher food so that employees could really understand what it means. Crew members also visited a kosher supermarket, a synagogue and the Jewish Learning Exchange in Golders Green, a north London neighbourhood that’s home to a large Orthodox Jewish community.
© Image Virgin Atlantic

Alongside the workshops, Jaime Tripp, training design consultant at Virgin Atlantic, designed a digital training guide for crew and other people around the business to heighten cultural awareness and bridge any knowledge gaps. This guide also makes all areas of the business aware of each other’s policies so that they can deliver a seamless service throughout the customer journey.

Changes on board

A number of changes have been made on board to make all customers feel welcome on the Tel Aviv route. These include making announcements in Hebrew, as well as English – a service that is not offered by many other airlines serving this route. Hebrew menu translations and Hebrew subtitles on the inflight entertainment systems are also available and a selection of local programming has been added.

The airline has also improved its kosher menus and added kosher snacks and drinks on board. 80 per cent of the snacks on offer at the Wander Wall will be kosher on this route – and in Upper Class kosher nibbles will be available with bar drinks, as well as Jewish honey cake served before landing.

The team was unanimous in their support of the new approach to preparing people for the new destination. Mark Shelton, a flight service manager, said: “I’m Jewish myself, so it’s been amazing to see everyone else learn and get to know about Jewish culture and tradition, and gain awareness of cultural differences, especially with our Orthodox customers.”

Read more about the Tel Aviv route in Richard Branson’s blog from the celebration flight.

Visit Virgin Atlantic to find out more and book your flight today.