Virgin Atlantic air stewardess, 36, takes job stacking shelves at Asda after being furloughed


A Virgin Atlantic air stewardess has swapped plane aisles for the supermarket variety after being furloughed by the airline.

Sara Haider is used to flying across the world with her job, but the humble 36-year-old is now stacking shelves at her local Asda due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Super-fit Sara – also a personal trainer – said she is having a ‘blast’ in her new role stacking chilled food in the store in Lancing, West Sussex. 

If she were to switch to working at Asda full time, she would be paid less than she was as a glamorous globe-trotting stewardess. A full time shop floor employee at Asda  earns around  £16,000 a year compared to the £18,000-a-year of Virgin stewardess. 

Virgin Atlantic stewardess, Sara Haider, has started a job at Asda after being furloughed

Super-fit Sara - also a personal trainer - said she is having a 'blast' in her new role stacking chilled food in the store in Lancing, West Sussex

Super-fit Sara – also a personal trainer – said she is having a ‘blast’ in her new role stacking chilled food in the store in Lancing, West Sussex

Sara normally flies all round the world but has been had to take a new role to make ends meet

Sara normally flies all round the world but has been had to take a new role to make ends meet

The 36-year-old says she didn't want to 'sit around doing nothing' after being furloughed

The 36-year-old says she didn’t want to ‘sit around doing nothing’ after being furloughed

It comes after 8,000 Virgin workers were furloughed last month, which will see staff paid 80 per cent of their salaries for three months. 

Cabin crew member Sara, of Brighton said: ‘As soon as I found out I’d been furloughed I didn’t want to sit around and do nothing.

What does it mean to be furloughed? 

If you’re being furloughed by your employer, it means you’re being sent home, but will still receive 80 per cent of your salary from the Government, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. 

However, you first need to agree to be put on furlough by your employer, who can then apply for the money to the Government. You cannot apply for it yourself.

Your employer can choose to pay the remaining 20 per cent of your wages, although it is not obliged to do so.

If you earn more than £2,500 a month, your employer can choose to ‘top up’ your salary, but again it is not forced to do so.

You will still continue to pay income tax and national insurance contributions while on furlough.

Benefits such as health insurance, private medical, gym membership etc should continue as normal unless otherwise agreed. 

This Government job retention scheme is only for employed people, it does not apply if you are self-employed. There is an alternative scheme in place for those working for themselves. 

It is possible to refuse to be furloughed, however, doing so may put you at risk of redundancy and/or termination of your employment. 

‘I applied to join the team at Asda so I could make a difference in the community.’ 

She added: ‘Whether flying to the US, Caribbean, Far East or South Africa, I’ve always loved working with people and keeping active.

‘So this role is perfect for me while we wait for life to return to normal.

‘I’m very grateful to have landed a new job, and I’m delighted to be playing my part in feeding the nation.’

Steve Cracknell, general store manager of Asda Lancing, said: ‘We’re thrilled to welcome Sara to join the Asda team.

‘She has been doing a first class job and has made a quick transition from airline trolleys to Asda trolleys.’

Sara – who took part in the UKBFF Bikini Masters last year – posted a snap of her in her new uniform on Instagram.

She said: ‘GREEN OR RED??

‘I know which I prefer… having a blast tho (sic) with the Asda crew!

‘Thanks for having me temporarily.’

On March 23, she shared a photo of her last flight before the COVID-19 lockdown.

She said: ‘The last B747 flight… hopefully will get to fly on the old bird again one day.

‘Social distancing is pretty near impossible when you are in such confined space working with each other, hence it not applying here.

‘Now to get our people back home… quick stop in Jamaica to pick up more Brits… then home to.

‘Let’s hope my awesome company comes through the other side after all this.’

She also said she was applying for lockdown jobs adding: ‘YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU.

Haider says she hopes to return to Virgin Atlantic if the airline survives the pandemic

Haider says she hopes to return to Virgin Atlantic if the airline survives the pandemic

Virgin boss Richard Branson has been criticised for asking for £500m government bailout

Virgin boss Richard Branson has been criticised for asking for £500m government bailout

Branson says he'll do everything he can to save airline but 'will need government support'

Branson says he’ll do everything he can to save airline but ‘will need government support’ 

‘If being on the front line means stacking shelves or driving delivery trucks… I’m in.

‘Spent most of the morning applying for such jobs.

‘If I can’t carry on with my two careers for now I want to help my county where it’s needed.’

Tailor, 32, who makes suits for sports stars including Steven Gerrard, Deontay Wilder and Mo Salah is forced to take £10-an-hour job at Morrisons after being furloughed 

A tailor to the stars such as Steven Gerrard and Deontay Wilder has been forced to take a £10-an-hour packing job in Morrisons after being furloughed.

Rich Gregson is used to making suits that cost up to £10,000.

His other clients include former England manager Sam Allardyce and Premier League stars Mo Salah and Wilfried Zaha.

He is also used to mixing in celeb circles with the likes of Coleen Rooney.

But the humble 32-year-old has swapped his offices in Los Angeles for the supermarket in Liverpool.

But he said he is enjoying his new picking and packing gig because he is less stressed.

The co-founder of Tattan & Gregson – which also has a Merseyside office – said business was hit because they couldn’t get supplies from Italy.

Rich and co-founder Rob Tattan furloughed their staff, closed the company and the very next day Rich managed to get a job at Morrisons through Redwigwam, a flexible work company.

Rich, of Liverpool, said: ‘As soon as this happened I made an announcement on our social media to our clients that we would shut on the Friday, and on the Saturday I was working in Morrisons.

‘I am not one to sort of lie back and do nothing about my situation, I got out there.’  

Sara was praised for her temporary career change.

One pal – called Lisa – said: ‘Good on you girl.’

Another added: ‘How do you make a ASDA uniform look hot though.’

Anais Pontet said: ‘Still look smoking hot in a fleece.. how do you do it!’

While Haider and her colleagues attempt to make ends meet, Virgin Atlantic boss Richard Branson has been criticised for asking for a £500m government bailout.

Branson, who owns 51% of the airline and has promised to pump £250m into the business, has made the request despite being worth a reported £4.2 billion. 

In a blog written to the company’s staff on Tuesday, the 69-year-old said: ‘We will do everything we can to keep the airline going – but we will need government support to achieve that’.  

In March, chancellor Rishi Sunak told airlines the government would only intervene ‘as a last resort’ and urged them to find alternative sources of funding.

Branson has hired the investment bank Houlihan Lokey to help him find additional private investment as revenues continue to plummet as a result of travel bans.  

A report in the Daily Telegraph on Sunday also claimed Branson is also looking for a buyer for the struggling airline.

Virgin Australia has already entered administration after failing to secure a loan from the Australian government and Branson fears the same could happen in the UK.  

In March, chancellor Rishi Sunak told airlines the government would only intervene ‘as a last resort’ and urged them to find alternative sources of funding.

Branson has hired the investment bank Houlihan Lokey to help him find additional private investment as revenues continue to plummet as a result of travel bans.  

A report in the Daily Telegraph on Sunday also claimed Branson is also looking for a buyer for the struggling airline.

Virgin Australia has already entered administration after failing to secure a loan from the Australian government and Branson fears the same could happen in the UK.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk