Love was quite literally in the air (or the clouds) today as Virgin Atlantic operated a heart-shaped flight path from London Gatwick. Flight VS850P flew out of London Gatwick on 14 February, mapping out a cordate vapour trail as it travelled over the South-West coast of England.
The airline needed to submit a special request to National Air Traffic Services (NATS) to undertake the flight over British air space as part of a training flight.
The aircraft was an Airbus A330 called HonkyTonk Woman, which departed Gatwick at 11am. Fans of aviation (and love) were able to follow its progress by searching for flight VS850P on the Flightradar24 website.
Captain JJ Burrows, director of aircraft operations for Virgin Atlantic, said: “We had a training flight planned for 14 February, and when we realised it was Valentine’s Day we decided to have a little fun.
“Our special heart-shaped flight took off from London Gatwick, travelling across the south of England and over the Cornish coast to form a heart shape at around 30,000ft.”
Virgin Atlantic is also holding a one-day sale on Valentine’s Day, with savings of up to £279 per person on selected Premium Economy seats.
It’s no Love Actually, but it beats a £5 bottle of wine and a Nando’s.
Just prior to Christmas last year, an Emirates A380 pilot drew a Christmas tree while flying over Germany. The zig-zag route didn’t interfere with passengers’ travel as it was, like Virgin’s Valentine’s day heart, a test flight.
Meanwhile, in November last year, a US Navy pilot was grounded after drawing a penis in the sky while flying over rural Washington, causing outrage among locals and hilarity among internet users.
In a statement provided to local media at the time, a local naval station said: “The Navy holds its aircrew to the highest standards and we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value and we are holding the crew accountable.”