A hilarious complaint letter written by a passenger about a horror flight – which saw him have to get off six planes at as many airports in one day on the way to his final destination – has emerged—as Mark Duell reports in The Daily Mail.
Arthur Hicks wrote an open letter to Caribbean airline LIAT (Leeward Islands Air Transport) to tell them of his experience that also involved ‘sampling the security scanners at each and every airport’.
The passenger said that he was ‘patted down by a variety of islanders’ after having to change plane each of the six times he landed – and when he finally arrived at his destination the last ferry had left.
He added that all of the local bars and restaurants at the destination were also shut by this time – and, to round off his nightmare journey, the airline had even managed to lose his bag en route.
The letter was published in British Virgin Islands newspaper BVI Beacon in April, but only recently came to light after being blogged about last Friday by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson.
He said one of his colleagues had told him that LIAT is ‘reputed to stand for Languishing In Airport Terminals’ – and that it is ‘important to take customer feedback on board in order to improve’.
Sir Richard added that ‘making customer service key to your company will keep your employees motivated and your customers happy’, ensuring ‘loyalty, business success and a better experience’.
The letter by Mr Hicks, whom Sir Richard described as a ‘great tennis pro’, has gone viral since he blogged about it – being covered by many newspapers and websites in Britain, Australia and the U.S.
Sir Richard is no stranger to funny complaint letters, having received what he said may have been ‘the world’s best’ from a customer about the food on a Virgin flight from Mumbai to London in 2008.
The author, named as Oli Beale, said he ‘would have gladly paid over a thousand rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was subjected to at the hands of your corporation’.
Sir Richard later telephoned the man and thanked him for his ‘constructive if tongue-in-cheek’ email, a Virgin spokesman said at the time, adding that the company was sorry he had not liked the food.
Founded in 1956, LIAT is based in Antigua and serves 21 destinations across the Caribbean.
Here it is, in full:
Dear LIAT, 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.
Photo by Gordon A. Gebert jr.