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Hurrah, You’re Listening!

Sometimes I feel like one of those storybook creatures who is lost in a forest, and keeps shouting – only for her words to echo in the darkness and then disappear into the distance.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard myself shout: “Stop giving us stuff wrapped in plastic”. Or “If I’ve just paid £4,000 for a Business Class flight, why do you think I want to wear polyester pyjamas that feel like clingfilm or amenity bags full of cheap, single-use products?”

Then this week a (recyclable) cardboard box arrived from Virgin, with a sample of the amenity kits that Upper Class travellers will be given on the airline’s new A350. In it were socks that I’d happily use again. Casual, soft cotton trousers that will be perfect for yoga. An eye mask that is both comfortable and cuts out every bit of light. And recycled paper washbags that are a) made of a sustainable material and b) filled with planet-friendly REN and Aveda products.

The box came with a note asking me to test the items and to tell them what I thought, so they could continue to improve on their service.

I will tell you what I think, Virgin: that you deserve full marks for listening. You’ve heard us shouting about waste. You’ve read the endless reports we’ve written on the effects of chemical-filled unctions on our skin. And you’ve sourced sustainably produced items that we will use again and again. In other words: you’ve (finally) given us what we’ve asked for.

The next step is to persuade your boss to spend less on sending rockets into space, and more on greener aircraft engines.

Although then I’ll have nothing to shout about at all.

Post Author

Lisa Grainger has worked for The Times – from the arts and news desks to The Times Magazine and LUXX – since 1995. When she isn’t working as deputy editor of Luxx, Lisa freelances for publications from Departures and Travel + Leisure to The Times, pens a monthly interview with a leading British craftsman for Walpole, and is sustainability editor at Country & Town House. She has won awards for her travel writing on Africa, and is a regular contributor to panels on conservation and luxury travel. Her compilation of African myths and legends, Stories Gogo Told Me, funds schooling for orphaned girls through the CAMFED charity.


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