We do like our airline complaints here at DCR and this one, by Chris Woolhouse, has been sat in my Inbox since it was written last May. Chris had been for a weekend in Lithuania and, it seems, it had all gone terribly well until he began his homeward journey…
To: Wizz Air Customer Relations HU 2 <email@example.com>
Dear Customer Relations,
Having spent a lovely weekend in Vilnius,1 drinking reasonable amounts of Švyturys Ekstra2 and munching on the curious local dish of fried bread with cheese, loaded with enough calories to cause a cardiac arrest in an elephant, I made my way to Vilnius airport for my return flight to Luton along with five of my chums. Having consumed a fair amount of alcohol and the kind of food which wouldn’t generally be found on a Gillian McKeith3 programme, we were discussing how much we were in need of a detox. In fact, one of our group said “If only this airport had a sauna” before the rest of us nodded in agreement and generally grumbled about how the non-air conditioned airport was pretty nippy at a mere 28 degrees Celsius.4
However fortune was about to shine on us, and so was the sun.
Our limited grasp of the beautiful, but difficult to understand, Lithuanian tongue meant that we didn’t realise that the ‘boarding’ that began to show on the boards in the airport approximately 1 hour before the scheduled departure time was Lithuanian for “Stand in a greenhouse for 40 minutes and sweat until you turn into a pair of balls in a puddle”.
We thought it meant “Get on the aeroplane”!
Much to our delight, we found that immediately after going through the boarding gate we ended up stood on the stairs in the airport greenhouse. I’m sure you can imagine our delight as the temperature started to rise and rise and rise in this sunny, airless void. Indeed, the only thing that remotely resembled a breeze came from my friend Bueller, who, once he realised his detox dream had come true, treated himself to a celebratory fart.
Our fellow passengers were as excited as us as the temperature began to creep past ‘Melt Your Face Off’, beyond ‘And You Thought The Surface Of The Sun Was Hot’ and into ‘Thermonuclear Armageddon Whilst Eating A Phal’.5 Especially the six month old baby, who seemed to enjoy the experience more and more the hotter it got. At least I think he was screaming “Yeah, yeah” but it was quite difficult to tell as my ears had dissolved.
Having spent 40 minutes happily melting my troubles away in the sweat box and watching my companions turn into 3 stone weaklings before my very eyes, much like the bit at the end of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, where the weird looking Nazi who burned his hand on the headpiece of the Staff of Ra’s face melts off,6 I was surprised to see one of your representatives come down the escalator carrying a ‘priority boarding’ sign and being followed by a small number of people. I assume they were simply taken outside and ritually flame-throwered to death, as that would be the only thing hotter than normal ‘boarding’. I didn’t see them again but to be fair, my contact lenses had become molten by that point and I was viewing the world in a kind of pseudo-Dali plastic-vision.
Once the doors were open, and our sauna experience seemed to be coming to an end, we were even more delighted to find that our stay in ‘El Molten Box Del Diablo’ would be extended by another few minutes as everyone was asked to wait just a little bit longer so that all of the pensioners could finish dying. Following that, we squelched down the stairs, slipping on the barbecued corpses of our fellow passengers and wandered outside where the air temperature was so low, at a mere 25 degrees or so, that we were forced to huddle together on our way up the stairs to the plane in case we caught hypothermia, or simply froze solid.
I’d like to thank you very much for the intense weight loss program, and the “Live Like a Sheep” bonus package that we didn’t even know we’d purchased. I will be flying with Wizzair again, just as soon as I’m off the saline drip and the Dioralyte7 diet which the doctor says I need to stay on for the next six months.
Did you notice that Chris managed to tell the entire story without using the word ‘hot’? Very commendable.
Wizzair were obviously extremely distressed to hear Chris’s story. So much so that they sent a standard reply which made no reference whatsoever to the incident:
From: Wizz Air Customer Relations HU 2 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 4 June 2013 13:28:34 BST
To: Chris Woolhouse
Subject: re: Service complaints (T7Q4YZ)
Dear Mr Chris Woolhouse,
Thank you for contacting the Customer Relations Department.
Please be informed that your remarks have been duly noted and forwarded. Our Company always appreciates our Customers’ feedback concerning our services and is trying to do its best to align with very high standards and expectations.
Please accept my deepest and most sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.
We look forward to welcoming you on board in the future.
All the best,
Customer Relations Department
Wizz Air Hungary Kft.
Member of Wizz Air Group
BUD International Airport Building 221
Fax: +36 1 239 6280
Clearly, they knew they already had his money and didn’t give a shit about subjecting future passengers to similar discomfort.
Well done Wizzair. Great to see exemplary customer service in action:
If you have any Wizzair complaints, do send them in.
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For American readers: Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania and its largest city at roughly half a million souls and has a very beautiful old town which was designated a World Heritage Site in 1994. Lithuania lies on the Baltic Sea between Latvia and Poland. Russia is just a couple of hour drive away by tank if you take a short cut through Belarus. Lithuanians are therefore taking a keen interest in the current events in Ukraine. ↩
Švyturys Ekstra is a Lithuanian beer. The Švyturys Brewery is Lithuania’s second oldest brewery located in Klaipėda, Lithuania and was founded in 1784 by the Reincke family of merchant seamen – so they should be getting the hang of it by now. ↩
No, I didn’t know who Gillian McKeith was either. It turns out that she is a Scottish nutritionist (an oxymoron if I ever heard one!) who used to be the host of the UK Channel 4 television programme ‘You Are What You Eat’. ↩
For American readers: We don’t use Farenheit in Europe any more. Let’s face it, having 32 degrees as freezing point and 212 degrees as boiling point (at standard atmospheric pressure, obvioulsy!) is a bit bloody daft. We use Centigrade (or Celsius – or Kelvin if we are scientific types – which is exactly the same thing). So, by way of translation, a mere 28ºC equates to 82.4ºF. So, not all that nippy. ↩
Phall (sometimes spelled fall, faal, fahl, phaal, phal or paal) is a British-Asian-Indian curry dish, which originated in Indian restaurants in Birmingham, UK, and is not to be confused with the char-grilled, gravyless, finger food phall from Bangalore. It is one of the hottest forms of curry available, even hotter than the vindaloo, using a large number of ground standard chili peppers, or a hotter type of chili such as scotch bonnet orhabanero. Typically, the dish is a tomato-based thick curry and includes ginger and optionally fennel seeds. A short period of hospitalisation is usually recommended if you eat an entire portion. It can also used to revive a cardiac arrest victim if no defibrillators are available. ↩
See header image. The “weird looking Nazi” is Major Arnold Toht, an interrogator for the Gestapo, who tries to torture Marion Ravenwood for the headpiece of the Staff of Ra. He dies as a result the Ark’s supernatural powers. He was played by Ronald Lacey because Steven Speilberg thought he looked like Peter Lorre and was equally as creepy. ↩
Dioralyte™ is a fast and effective treatment for reducing dehydration and replacing electrolytes (mineral salts). It consists of a powder which is dissolved in water and drunk. Or you can suck on an organge. ↩