Airline complaint letters are often angry, as they are by their very nature written by travelers who have been through an unpleasant travel experience. A letter to LIAT, a small Caribbean airline that serves 21 destinations, received a complaint letter that is so humorous that Sir Richard Branson, the CEO of the Virgin Group, tweeted it to his more than three million followers.
"How to write a complaint letter - read this hilarious note from a frustrated airline passengers," Branson tweeted. He was once the recipient of a hilarious complaint letter himself, where the traveler, Oli Beale, a British advertising executive, referred to his flight on Virgin Atlantic as a "culinary journey of hell."
"Having once received what many regard as the world's best complaint letter, I was tickled to see another brilliant note to a different airline," Branson continued. "It is important to take customer feedback on board in order to improve - and also to be able to laugh at yourself."
In his blog post about the letter, Branson explained the way he dealt with his complaint letter.
"I phoned the customer who wrote the above note to apologize and thank him for his letter after he experienced a less than perfect culinary experience on board one of our planes," Branson wrote.
The letter to LIAT appeared in the weekly British Virgin Islands newspaper, the BVI Beacon, in April. It was written by Arthur Hicks, a traveler from London, and titled, "An Open Letter to LIAT."
In the letter, he describes being flown to six different airports in a single day, having to switch planes each time and being "patted down by a variety of islanders." Upon finally arriving at his destination, Hicks found he had missed the last ferry service, the local bars and restaurants were shut, and to top it all off, the airline had lost his luggage along the way.
Branson joked that LIAT stands for "Languishing In Airport Terminals."
Here is the letter:
May I say how considerate it is of you to enable your passengers such an in-depth and thorough tour of the Caribbean.
Most other airlines I have travelled on would simply wish to take me from point A to B in rather a hurry. I was intrigued that we were allowed to stop at not a lowly one or two but a magnificent six airports yesterday. And who wants to fly on the same airplane the entire time? We got to change and refuel every step of the way!
I particularly enjoyed sampling the security scanners at each and every airport. I find it preposterous that people imagine them all to be the same. And as for being patted down by a variety of islanders, well, I feel as if I've been hugged by most of the Caribbean already. I also found it unique that this was all done on "island time," because I do like to have time to absorb the atmosphere of the various departure lounges. As for our arrival, well, who wants to have to take a ferry at the end of all that flying anyway? I'm glad the boat was long gone by the time we arrived into Tortola last night -- and that all those noisy bars and restaurants were closed.
So thank you, LIAT. I now truly understand why you are "The Caribbean Airline."
P.S. Keep the bag. I never liked it anyway.