Sir Richard Branson Applauds Airline Complaint Letter

Sir Richard Branson
Paul Kane, Getty images

Sir Richard Branson, the self-made billionaire of Virgin fame, must have some spare time these days. The business mogul has taken it upon himself to applaud a humorous airline complaint letter that went viral. Written by tennis pro Arthur Hicks, the sarcastic letter thanks Caribbean carrier LIAT for taking him on a tour of the islands.

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.

Branson himself is no stranger to airline grievances. He once received what many regard as the world’s most epic complaint letter, a detailed account of a passenger’s “culinary journey of hell” when faced with a spongy biscuit during an in-flight meal. But as the saying goes, there is no such thing as bad publicity — even in the case of funny airline complaints.

The world’s longest and shortest flights

Because you’re just apoplectic to find out how you can maximize your time on an airplane, right? We covered this a while back, but things keep changing: planes keep getting bigger, stronger, and faster, routes change based on demand and somehow, we keep increasing our tolerance for being locked up and pressurized like pringles in a can. Fortunately, the world’s many airline nerds have already done the technical legwork–we just had to fact check:

  • At present, the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight is Singapore Airlines SQ21 from Newark Liberty (EWR) to Singapore Changi International (SIN) clocking in at a whopping 18 hours 50 minutes! Thankfully, the huge all-business-class Airbus A340-500 and world-famous in-flight service makes the halfway-around-the-world jaunt from New Jersey quite bearable. (In that same time, you could drive from Newark to Kansas City.)
  • The world’s shortest regularly-scheduled, non-stop commercial flight is on Scotland’s Loganair, from the island of Westray (WRY) to Papa Westray (PSV) in the Orkney Islands, clocking in at a meager 2 minutes (so I’m guessing there’s no beverage service).There are plenty of other super short commercial flights all over the world, mostly inter-island and commuter connections. The Caribbean’s LIAT flight between the islands of St. Kitt’s (SKB) and Nevis (NEV) is scheduled at 15 minutes long but rarely takes more than 5 minutes from take-off to landing.

(Photo Flickr: William James Tychonievich)