KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Billionaire Richard Branson's next cutting-edge risk will expose him like never before: He'll have his legs shaved in public to dress up and serve as a flight attendant after losing a bet to a rival airline mogul.
The winner of a charity auction will pay at least $650,000 for the honor, according to Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia.
The Virgin Atlantic founder will hand the razor to one of 160 passengers on a special charity flight from London to Kuala Lumpur that he will personally serve on May 1 while wearing a female flight attendant's uniform, AirAsia said Monday.
Branson and AirAsia' Malaysian founder Tony Fernandes each wagered their new Formula One racing teams would finish ahead of each other in last year's season, promising that the loser would serve as a flight attendant on the winner's airline. Fernandes' team landed two spots above Branson's in the final rankings.
"As an AirAsia flight attendant, Richard would have to comply to our grooming standards, and that includes shaving his legs," Fernandes said in a statement released by AirAsia.
"Rather than shave him myself, Richard and I thought we could have a bit of fun, engage with our guests and raise more money for charity if we opened up the opportunity to the highest bidder," the AirAsia founder added.
The bidding will take place before the AirAsia flight leaves Stansted airport north of London, and the winner will "be invited to shave Richard once he's unveiled as an AirAsia flight attendant," the statement said.
Proceeds of both the bidding and flight ticket sales will go to beneficiaries identified by Virgin Unite, Branson's nonprofit foundation.
Branson's office could not immediately be reached, but the Virgin Atlantic founder has good-naturedly confirmed Fernandes' previous statements about the upcoming charity flight.
A one-way ticket aboard the flight, which will also will feature a magician show and live bands, costs about $7,300. AirAsia representatives declined Monday to reveal how many tickets have been purchased since they went on sale April 13.
Fernandes has said he will let Branson keep his signature facial hair, but the 60-year-old entrepreneur would nevertheless be expected to wear high heels, put on some makeup and perform all of a flight attendant's responsibilities.
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