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Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson 35 years ago with innovation and customer service at its core. Today Virgin Atlantic carries 5.4 million customers annually, and was recently voted Britain’s only Global Five Star Airline by APEX for the third year running in the Official Airline Ratings. Headquartered in London, Virgin Atlantic employs over 10,000 people worldwide and operates a fleet of 46 aircraft serving 27 destinations across four continents.

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Elsa Druiett & Melissa Mathewes
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Virgin Atlantic

Sir Richard Branson out negotiated as hagglers secure 90% off flights in Tel Aviv Market

  • Sir Richard Branson met his match as savvy shoppers in Tel Aviv haggled him down on flights to London
  • Branson, 69, set up a stall in the Israeli city’s famous Jaffa Flea Market to take on locals, famed for being some of the world’s fiercest negotiators
  • To mark the launch of Virgin Atlantic’s latest route into Heathrow, the tycoon honoured huge discounts of up to 90 per cent negotiated by the best bargainers.

To celebrate Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural flight to Tel Aviv, founder and international businessman Sir Richard Branson surprised locals in the city’s famous Jaffa Market, by offering them the chance to barter with him for flights to London.

Jaffa locals went toe to toe with Branson at his ‘Come Flea with Me’ travel agency, as they tried to get the best deal out of the international businessman. As well as offering flights, Richard Branson’s flea market stall was decked with Virgin Atlantic merchandise which he offered customers to sweeten the deal.

One Israeli local cleverly haggled Sir Richard down to just $45 for return flights, a 90% discount from his initial offer and a British father and daughter bagged flights for just a quarter of the asking price. Another married couple convinced Branson to throw in a business class upgrade to their return tickets to celebrate their anniversary before one British man was left with a disapproving wife when he walked away with just a toy plane after not believing the stall was real.

Sir Richard Branson comments: 

Israel is famous for its savvy negotiators, so I wanted to go head to head with some of its residents to put my skills to the test and I had to bring my A-game.”

Branson took over Jaffa Market to celebrate the launch of a new Virgin Atlantic flight route between London Heathrow and Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport.

Sir Richard Branson continued: 

With its thriving start-up scene, pristine beaches and vibrant nightlife, Tel Aviv was a key destination for Virgin Atlantic to establish a new route.

We’re thrilled to be helping our customers discover everything the city has to offer, playing a part in strengthening the cultural and commercial connection between London and Tel Aviv.”

The new route is now open, with flights taking 4hr 55 mins, with award-winning Upper Class, Premium and Economy Delight, Classic and Light available, with flights starting from £298 per person.

Notes to editors:

Key facts:

Service operates: London Heathrow (LHR) – Tel Aviv Ben Gurion (TLV)

Frequency: Daily, year-round, starting 25 September 2019

Flight time: Five hours

Aircraft: Airbus A330-300

Initial launch flight times: VS453 – departs LHR 13:30, arrives TLV 20:35
VS454 – departs TLV 07:15, arrives LHR 11:10

From 27th October 2019: VS453 – departs LHR 16:00, arrives TLV 23:05
VS454 – departs TLV 06:05, arrives LHR 09:55

Configuration: 31 Upper Class, 48 Premium, 185 Economy

What’s included: A full service onboard offering including complimentary food and drink, over 300 hours of entertainment (movies, TV and music) Wi-Fi from £2.99

For more information please contact the Virgin Atlantic Press Office on 01293 747373 or email

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