The Greatest Complaint Letter Ever Written

We’ve got nothing to add to this, other than to tell you it’s a letter sent to Sir Richard Branson from a disgruntled Virgin traveller. Enjoy…

Dear Mr Branson

REF: Mumbai to Heathrow 7th December 2008

I love the Virgin brand, I really do which is why I continue to use it despite a series of unfortunate incidents over the last few years. This latest incident takes the biscuit.

Ironically, by the end of the flight I would have gladly paid over a thousand rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was subjected to at thehands of your corporation.

Look at this Richard. Just look at it: [see image 1, left].

I imagine the same questions are racing through your brilliant mind as were racing through mine on that fateful day. What is this? Why have I been given it? What have I done to deserve this? And, which one is the starter, which one is the desert?

You don’t get to a position like yours Richard with anything less than a generous sprinkling of observational power so I KNOW you will have spotted the tomato next to the two yellow shafts of sponge on the left. Yes, it’s next to the sponge shaft without the green paste. That’s got to be the clue hasn’t it. No sane person would serve a desert with a tomato would they. Well answer me this Richard, what sort of animal would serve a desert with peas in: [see image 2, right].

I know it looks like a baaji but it’s in custard Richard, custard. It must be the pudding. Well you’ll be fascinated to hear that it wasn't custard. It was a sour gel with a clear oil on top. It’s only redeeming feature was that it managed to be so alien to my palette that it took away the taste of the curry emanating from our miscellaneous central cuboid of beige matter. Perhaps the meal on the left might be the desert after all.

Anyway, this is all irrelevant at the moment. I was raised strictly but neatly by my parents and if they knew I had started desert before the main course, a sponge shaft would be the least of my worries. So lets peel back the tin-foil on the main dish and see what’s on offer.

I’ll try and explain how this felt. Imagine being a twelve year old boy Richard. Now imagine it’s Christmas morning and you’re sat their with your final present to open. It’s a big one, and you know what it is. It’s that Goodmans stereo you picked out the catalogue and wrote to Santa about.

Only you open the present and it’s not in there. It’s your hamster Richard. It’s your hamster in the box and it’s not breathing. That’s how I felt when I peeled back the foil and saw this: [see image 3, left].

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking it’s more of that Baaji custard. I admit I thought the same too, but no. It’s mustard Richard. MUSTARD. More mustard than any man could consume in a month. On the left we have a piece of broccoli and some peppers in a brown glue-like oil and on the right the chef had prepared some mashed potato. The potato masher had obviously broken and so it was decided the next best thing would be to pass the potatoes through the digestive tract of a bird.

Once it was regurgitated it was clearly then blended and mixed with a bit of mustard. Everybody likes a bit of mustard Richard.

By now I was actually starting to feel a little hypoglycaemic. I needed a sugar hit. Luckily there was a small cookie provided. It had caught my eye earlier due to it’s baffling presentation: [see image 4, right].

It appears to be in an evidence bag from the scene of a crime. A CRIME AGAINST BLOODY COOKING. Either that or some sort of back-street underground cookie, purchased off a gun-toting maniac high on his own supply of yeast. You certainly wouldn’t want to be caught carrying one of these through customs. Imagine biting into a piece of brass Richard. That would be softer on the teeth than the specimen above.

I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was relax but obviously I had to sit with that mess in front of me for half an hour. I swear the sponge shafts moved at one point.

Once cleared, I decided to relax with a bit of your world-famous onboard entertainment. I switched it on: [see image 5, left].

I apologise for the quality of the photo, it’s just it was incredibly hard to capture Boris Johnson’s face through the flickering white lines running up and down the screen. Perhaps it would be better on another channel: [see image 6, right].

Is that Ray Liotta? A question I found myself asking over and over again throughout the gruelling half-hour I attempted to watch the film like this. After that I switched off. I’d had enough. I was the hungriest I’d been in my adult life and I had a splitting headache from squinting at a crackling screen.

My only option was to simply stare at the seat in front and wait for either food, or sleep. Neither came for an incredibly long time. But when it did it surpassed my wildest expectations: [see image 7, left].

Yes! It’s another crime-scene cookie. Only this time you dunk it in the white stuff.

Richard…. What is that white stuff? It looked like it was going to be yoghurt. It finally dawned on me what it was after staring at it. It was a mixture between the Baaji custard and the Mustard sauce. It reminded me of my first week at university. I had overheard that you could make a drink by mixing vodka and refreshers. I lied to my new friends and told them I’d done it loads of times. When I attempted to make the drink in a big bowl it formed a cheese Richard, a cheese. That cheese looked a lot like your baaji-mustard.

So that was that Richard. I didn’t eat a bloody thing. My only question is: How can you live like this? I can’t imagine what dinner round your house is like, it must be like something out of a nature documentary.

As I said at the start I love your brand, I really do. It’s just a shame such a simple thing could bring it crashing to it’s knees and begging for sustenance.

Yours Sincererly




  • The B.
    Cor dear, you're a bit late on your popbitch aren't ya?
  • J
    The whole way through, I felt like yelling at the tosser that wrote the piece to STFU and eat the damn food - no need for the comedy, write a fucking complaint letter like a normal person
  • P E.
    hahahahaha that was very well written and funny!
  • Caroline H.
  • Andy v.
    it was funny, i enjoyed the over use of Richard. made me chuckle.
  • choc-chic
    It's funny, and I liked the overuse of Richard too! Not rating his chances of a decent outcome though!
  • Alan
    I am only half-way through (the cookie bit) and I think I am going to have to stop or I will actually break out in a fit of laughter in the middle of the office!
  • tracy
    Sounds like a serial killer. Watch out richard!
  • will
    Absolutely brilliant!! LOL!!
  • matthew
    Brilliant, loved reading it, put a smile on my face.
  • Guv
    To you who travel to foreign countries yet remain ignorant to their cuisine. I would certainly find out about a countries cuisine, for all I know they may eat frogs or dogs or baby hogs. If food is such a bother to some, ie vegetarians like myself or those with food intolerance's, then its important that they find out what "Richard" is serving before going to his for a meal. Nobody like a guest who leave the host uninformed of the requirements and then sits miserable, grumbling their "mustn't grumbles". Don't you think "Richard" wants you to enjoy your meal or do you really think that he is that out of touch allowing his staff to feed you any old bolognese.
  • Guv
    PS Gajjar Halwa & Custard (carrot cake and custard) is highly unlikely to contain peas, Its much more likely, they are pistachios since your photo doesn't allow us to see this for ourselves. And "Shatfs"? Is that mine shafts or prop shafts or drive shafts in general or inspection shafts or maybe film characters. Oh sorry edible shafts. of?? And mustard? Now that would be a first. In a country with countless chilly varieties, they'd be looking for the mustard to spice things up wouldn't they.
  • Guv
    Cubes my friend not Shafts or shatfs
  • Guv
    Next time you will fare better if you replace your domestic "meat two veg +Gravey" cap with your cap of world cuisine.
  • Adam2050
    Thumbups on that one. :D
  • The B.
    Guv, your first post almost sounds like Dr Zeuss for a bit, keep it up.
  • andy y.
    On Ryanair they charge you to lick the seat
  • veedubjai
    It wouldn't surprise me that most airlines are overdoing it with new food cuisines & tastes but what's wrong with just having a classic bacon buttie, English breakfast, fish & chips, cottage pie, Yorkshire pudding on the menu. These are all classic English dishes. The simple things in life are acceptable. I think the airlines have lost the plot on what do the passengers want & not thought of "Less is More".
  • pipster72 is still the best complaint letter...sorry but nice try!
  • David C.
    I love the bit about the hamster not breathing. What was going through this guys mind?
  • Richard B.
    Re# Posted by J | January 27th, 2009 at 4:21 pm The whole way through, I felt like yelling at the tosser that wrote the piece to STFU and eat the damn food - no need for the comedy, write a fucking complaint letter like a normal person You just a simple idiot who's most probally depressed and cant see the funny side of life. Also i bet you are jealous because your last holiday was probally at window sill bay.....Get out more and get a life you Virgin
  • Joe
    That letter is GREAT. One of the best I've read in a while, certainly going to get the attention of someone at Virgin (whether good or bad)!!
  • Branny
    Classic!! I do hope we get to see the response from Virgin. Guv -Did you keep hitting the 'post' button by accident?
  • Rufus
    Absolutely side splitting. My abs were literally spasming uncontrollably I lauged so hard. Classic! Best bits: 'Richard, what sort of animal would serve a desert with peas in' 'It’s mustard Richard. MUSTARD. More mustard than any man could consume in a month.'
  • chrisg
    I like the fact he put kisses at the bottom. What?
  • charz
    absolutely hilarious!!!!
  • Fred C.
    I think if the author were to run a business empire the size of $100m he will have not a f*** what is going on at the grassroot with evey single act at the operational level. e.g.the author will have no f***ing clue if a toilet handle is missing in a loo at any one time. But as a funny letter it is eligible to be published in the "Private Eye"
  • Purple P.
    Haha! Hilarious! Highlight of my day!
  • halflife
    Simply brilliant. If you did not laugh then you are either American (ducks and waits for the onslaught) or not human.
  • The G.
    [...] The Greatest Complaint Letter Ever Written | BitterWallet. [...]
  • ungulator
    article: quite good comments: meh!
  • Adam
    veedubjai - bacon butties..when travelling FROM Mumbai?! Are you nuts?
  • DaviesR
    Absolutely brilliant read. Fair do's to the guy who'd submitted the letter.
  • M.Y.88
    doesn't quite cut the mustard
  • Mike
    Ha im in 1st year uni and people (countless people) have been told to use skittles in vokda to make a nice drink! Ha it didnt work
  • Curved S.
    "The potato masher had obviously broken and so it was decided the next best thing would be to pass the potatoes through the digestive tract of a bird." Fucking classic!
  • Amanda H.
    This one is a comedy gag, but still quite good:
  • chickabee
    this is so funny, had to laugh silently in the office, what a great letter. pipster, checked out your letter, but this ones still so much funnier.
  • Chris
    I laughed, brilliant letter.
  • Ela
    Richard actually loved this complaint letter and called the guy up about it. Well, if you wrote a normal complaint letter like the 20,000 ppl next to you, you wouldn't get Richard on the line, would you now? Besides, that was hilarious. Thanks Richard, for making this man suffer! Do it again!
  • M.¥.&&
    a metaphoroligst's (i'm sure someone's got this illustrious title) dream.
  • anil
    The use of richard in the letter is an excellent idea.... good one...
  • Craig J.
    Hi Mike Skittle vodka does work. Take out the green skittles though as it will turn the vodka brown.crush the rest up and add to vodka, leave for24 hours you must also filter it through kitchen roll or something similar made it lots of times taste great
  • Pinju
    Shame he can't spell 'dessert' mind you.
  • Mavanb
    Taken from yahoos edititors corner: Sir Richard called the writer personally and invited him to come to the airline's catering house next month, to help select the food on future Virgin flights. "We investigated his complaint seriously, and following Richard Branson's phone call we've invited him to our catering house to select the next range of meals and wines we serve on board," a spokesman for Virgin Atlantic told us. "Then we can ensure his personal taste is well and truly catered for." According to Virgin Atlantic Mr Beale replied saying that he would "think about it
  • Ad B.
    [...] the publication of ‘The World’s Greatest Complaint Letter’, we’re feeling a bit icky having learned that the author of the letter is a creative with top ad [...]
  • Mr M.
    If that is judged to be the best complaint letter ever, there must be some very low IQs on the judging panel. That is one of the worst things I've read in a while. It is not funny or even vaguely amusing, it is the sort of thing that I would expect an under-age, drunken teenager to write whilst recovering from his/her Friday night hangover. As for RB calling the perpetrator personally, to invite him to meet the caterers, I am not surprised that the perp' turned him down as he would like find himself fed into the trash compactor - which is where he deserves to be.
  • Michelle R.
    Get a life!!! you all have too much time on your hands, no wonder why we are in a recession - get some work done!!!
  • Superfluous B.
    [...] if there’s a silver lining to airline food, it’s that you get a full cutlery pack with each one. Knife, fork, spoon, napkin, the works. [...]
  • Hannah
    ehhh to "J" lighten up a bit, normal complaints are dull and formulaic.
  • chipped t.
    Extremely humourous complaint letter, I applaud you! I exepect Andy Dawson at least got a reply to his complaint from Virgin. I'm still waiting for one from Ryanair when I wrote to them about a piece of bone I found in my sandwich in September 2010. I'm beginning to wonder if their fax number is a fake because surely it can't take 5 months to respond to a customer complaint?

What do you think?

Your comment