Like many other companies, British Airways produce pro-forma replies to customer enquiries and complaints. I recently wrote to them about a recent Prague-London flight in Club Europe (1 hour 40 minutes) where no drinks were served until 50 minutes into the flight. Hot food was on time and most passengers had finished their meals before any drinks arrived. I received the pro-forma reply below – which was actually a mistake as the sender used the late/don’t like the food pro-forma.

Please post any pro-forma letters you receive from BA as I’d like to have a complete collection.

Thank you for your email dated 27 October 2014.  I am sorry you were unhappy with the time we served your food.  I can understand how frustrating it must have been for you.  We know our meal service is extremely important to our Club Europe customers.  Please accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused.    

We do give this a lot of thought because it can be difficult getting the timings right for everyone on a flight.  Local time variations can make a big difference, for instance, and passengers who join at a stop-over point often have different requirements from those who are with us from the start of the journey.  We also have to allow for whether it’s a daytime or night-time flight. 

However, I appreciate your own preference is for something more substantial and we will certainly bear it in mind.  We pay close attention to customers’ reactions to the food we serve and will continue to adapt to changing tastes.

We are determined to get our food and drink service absolutely right for all of our customers.  It is helpful to have your feedback to help make improvements to this service.  

Thank you again for contacting us and I hope that you will fly with us again soon so that we can start to restore your opinion of us.

Best regards

Firstname Lastname
 British Airways Customer Relations
Your case reference is:nnnnnnnnn

I replied to this as follows:

Thanks for your reply. However, you used the wrong pro-forma letter. The one you selected to customise was for people who complain that food is late – my complaint was that drinks were not served until 50 minutes after take off.

Please re-select the correct pro-forma letter, add my name in the appropriate places and re-send.

Alternatively, please re-read my letter and compose a reply from scratch that deals with the issue I raised.