Cold Call: How Reuben Arnold is Making Flying More Social

Virgin Atlantic’s brand director on networking at the high-altitude snack bar

Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways has flown in turbulent skies in recent years, posting losses (albeit shrinking ones) since 2011. Just as the company was inching its way back into the black, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashed in the Mojave Desert on Oct. 31. Galactic is a separate company—one of roughly 80 that use the Virgin name—but public associations between it and VAA probably don’t help. It adds to the pressure on Reuben Arnold, Virgin Atlantic’s brand and customer engagement director (who operates like a CMO), who’s tasked with helping the carrier regain the youthful, maverick reputation it enjoyed in past years. Fortunately, he’s got a character as colorful as Branson to front the brand in the media. We caught up with Arnold—fittingly, between cities—to ask him what’s on his marketing runway.