LIAT Responds to Richard Branson


Above: a LIAT plane

By Alexander Britell

LIAT has issued a response to Sir Richard Branson, a week after the Caribbean airline rose to international notoriety when Branson tweeted a complaint letter about the carrier.

The company released a pair of videos on Monday, with one addressing the complaint and the other specifically addressing Branson.

In the latter, Leesa Parris-Rudder, LIAT’s director for commercial and customer experience, thanked Branson for “putting LIAT, the Caribbean airline, on the world stage,” and challenging him to a race to Necker Island, the private island Branson owns in the British Virgin Islands.

“What a fantastic opportunity to showcase LIAT to the world,” Parris-Rudder said in the challenge video. “Although we take every complaint seriously, this tickles us to know that we’re second only to Virgin to receive the funniest complaint letter ever written about an airline.”

In the more serious of the two videos, Parris-Rudder said the company was investigating the complaint, which appeared in the BVI Beacon newspaper, although she said LIAT had found no complaints lodged with the airline itself and no complaints of a lost bag.

“We have to admit that is the first time we would have seen [the letter],” she says. “We can say that [the complaint writer] travels quite frequently with us and he is a valuable customer.”

Parris-Rudder said the unintentional publicity came at an opportune time, as the company is working to deliver a new fleet of planes and a rebrand.

“As for our relationship with Sir Richard’s airline is concerned, we do lots of interlining with his airline, we move his passengers throughout the region,” she said. “We have an appreciation for what he did and how it was done, and sometimes good things come out of bad press. So we’re just working and continuing to do what’s in our plan, which is to concentrate on the passenger and the passenger experience.”

Updated: LIAT has made both videos private less than a day after they were released. For the original Branson challenge video, click here.

As for the race to Necker Island, Parris-Rudder said the loser would have to “wipe the other airline’s tail” or “dress up as a flight attendant for us,” referring to the time Branson lost a bet to AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes and dressed up as a stewardess.

Updated: LIAT has made both videos private less than a day after they were released. CJ found another version of the first one. LIAT also took down a page featuring its “Branson Challenge.”

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