Travel is a big part of Sir Richard Branson’s life. The business magnet, who founded the Virgin Group, which includes hotels, an airline, and cruise company, regularly makes trips around the world. It seems reasonable that he’s a pro at packing. And while he may fill his suitcase with different things depending on where he’s going, there’s one item he never forgets: a notebook.
During the Virgin Voyages launch in New York City, he told Forbes that he carries one in his back pocket at all times because “it’s great for capturing ideas.”
Branson keeps the notebook with him because it’s helpful when he sees something at one of his enterprises that can be improved. “When I’m on a Virgin plane I’m always writing down little things,” he explained.
He also gets annoyed when he’s meeting with someone who doesn’t carry their own notebook.
“If I have a discussion with somebody and come up with 10 different ideas, I find it frustrating if I’m having a conversation with someone and they’re not taking notes because you know nine of the 10 ideas will be forgotten,” he said. “So, why are you wasting my time having this discussion and not making a note?”
Meanwhile, Virgin Voyages has officially started accepting bookings on the company’s first ship the Scarlet Lady. Unlike traditional cruise lines, it will be all-inclusive with free amenities such as Wifi, fitness classes and food. Travellers won’t have to worry about gratuities and services charges either. It’s set to launch in Miami in spring 2020.
“This new luxury is about knowing you are taken care of,” said Tom McAlpin, President, and CEO of Virgin Voyages, at the Virgin Voyages launch event. “That you’re never being nickel and dimed, and what you want, even some of the things you didn’t know you wanted, are already taken care of for you.”
In related news, Virgin Galactic’s commercial spaceship recently flew higher and faster than it ever has. Over the past two months, the SpaceShipTwo (SS2) has undergone two test flights. Chief Pilot Dave Mackay and co-pilot Michael “Sooch” Masucci flew to an altitude of 295,007ft (89,918 m) and reached a speed of Mach 3.04 (2,255 mph).
Branson aims to begin commercial flights by the end of this year. About 700 people have already committed to taking a ride on the SS2.
“Flying the same vehicle safely to space and back twice in a little over two months, while at the same time expanding the flight envelope, is a testament to the unique capability we have built up within the Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company organizations. I am immensely proud of everyone involved,” Branson said of the test flight.
The ship also included Virgin Galactic’s Chief Astronaut Instructor Beth Moses, who made history by becoming the first woman and first non-pilot to fly on board a commercial spaceship.