You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

James Franco, Seth Rogen Among Fest-Goers Who Kick Off SXSW on Delta’s Festival Shuttle

Techies and industry-ites kicked off the SXSW fun before even touching down in Austin.

For the third year in a row, Delta’s festival shuttle flew nearly 200 fest-goers from LAX to Austin’s airport, as part of the airline’s growing effort to attract new flyers from various industries, especially plugged-in customers who regularly fly from buzzy event-to-event, like SXSW.

“The idea was to curate people going to these incredible festivals and get the right folks on the airplane to have a discussion about what they’re doing, in this case in technology, and really support L.A. tech and L.A. entertainment firms,” Delta Air Lines’ vice president of global sales, west, Ranjan Goswami, told Variety minutes before boarding the flight. “What we’re seeing is this convergence of tech and content companies coming together.”

James Franco and Seth Rogen were among the passengers on the flight, and though some of the actors on board were sitting up in first class, the entire plane was treated with amenities like priority check-in, a pre-flight brunch at Lemonade in Delta’s terminal and flowing tequila — after all, this is SXSW. Rogen, who flew with his king charles cavalier, Zelda, was in good spirits along with the rest of the high-energy passengers who treated the flight as a two-plus-hour networking event. Other notable passengers were actor Michael Vartan, comedian Brett Gelman who flew with his producing partner and wife, Janicza Bravo, plus execs from Snapchat, Hulu, Verizon’s Go90 and UTA.

Unlike normal flights, the festival shuttle was swarming with passengers crowding the aisles to schmooze and deal-make — of course, only when the seat-belt sign was off.

SXSW, which specializes in tech, music, film and TV, is one of four events included in Delta’s fest shuttle. The flight also heads to the Telluride Film Festival, Summit at Sea and Sundance, which was the first fest involved in the #DeltaFestivalShuttle. While Delta isn’t targeting an expansion for the festival shuttle at this time, according to Goswami, the airline is always open to exploring more destinations.

“What’s exciting is we now have an interest and if we were to target another festival shuttle to a new destination, I think we’d get the support from the community here in L.A.,” Goswami says. “What’s really neat is people want to be on these flights. We’ve got wait lists for them and it’s a really fun experience together.”

More Scene

  • Nicole KidmanWarner Bros. Pictures World Premiere

    How James Wan Convinced Nicole Kidman to Star in 'Aquaman'

    While some actors dream of playing a superhero, that wasn’t the case for the cast of “Aquaman.” “I knew nothing about this,” Amber Heard, who plays Mera in the James Wan-directed action film, told Variety at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere. “I knew nothing about comic books in general. I didn’t know anything about this [...]

  • Hugh Jackman'To Kill a Mockingbird' Broadway

    'To Kill a Mockingbird's' Starry Opening: Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and More

    The Shubert Theatre in New York City last was filled on Thursday night with Oscar winners, media titans, and, of course, Broadway legends who came out for the opening of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The starry guest list included Oprah Winfrey, Barry Diller, “Les Misérables” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, [...]

  • Clint Eastwood and Alison Eastwood'The Mule'

    Clint Eastwood: Why Alison Eastwood Came Out of Acting Retirement for Her Dad

    Clint Eastwood’s daughter Alison Eastwood was done with acting after appearing in 2014’s “Finding Harmony.” Or so she thought. It was a Friday night and she and her husband were heading to dinner when her father’s producer Sam Moore called. “He [says], ‘You know, your dad wants you to do this film,” Alison recalls. “I [...]

  • John CenaSports Illustrated Sportsperson of the

    John Cena on WWE's Acceptance by Hollywood and the Professional Sports World

    John Cena says the WWE is finally getting the attention it deserves by Hollywood and the professional sports world. “I’m just glad that no longer are we looked down upon, not only by the sport industry, but by the performing arts industry,” Cena told Variety on Tuesday night in Beverly Hills at Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of [...]

  • Steve Carell Welcome to Marwen

    Steve Carell on New Film 'Welcome to Marwen' and Reprising His 'Anchorman' Character

    In 2000, Mark Hogancamp was nearly beaten to death by five men outside of a bar. Left with brain damage and little money to afford therapy, Hogancamp began creating miniature doll versions of himself, his friends, and his attackers as a way to cope. This true story inspired the 2010 documentary “Marwencol” and the upcoming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content