The economic downturn is seeing growing numbers of professionals quitting ‘nine to five’ jobs to work as flight attendants.
Virgin Atlantic said most of its cabin crew now held bachelor or masters degrees in a range of subjects totally unrelated to the travel industry.
Rising unemployment was playing a part in the changing profile of its staff, but it also believed that people were becoming disillusioned with their previous lifestyles.
Bankers, tax inspectors and social workers are among those opting for a change in career.
An airline spokeswoman said: "The economic downturn has encouraged many professional people to re-examine the things they once thought were important.
"With so much uncertainty, people want to live for the moment, so a nine to five existence to pay for a mortgage and a car no longer holds much attraction.
"Big companies are always urging employees to indulge in blue sky thinking, and now hundreds of executives are literally putting that philosophy into practice."
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