One man’s airline food was so bad he rang the UK Foreign Office to complain – and ask if it could change him to a different airline for his return journey.
This was one of the most absurd requests the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) received this year.
Other bizarre requests included a caller from Nigeria wanting to speak to rapper 50 Cent and asking the British Consulate to share his phone number; a man enquiring about getting British citizenship for his newborn son, whom he was sure was conceived in the UK; and a Chinese couple who had used a sperm donor wanting FCO staff to verify the nationality of the sperm as British.
The Foreign Office added that one caller asked the department to check whether they had left headphones in a hotel room in France; one man wanted the FCO to provide a new television for his friend, who was hospitalised in Australia; and one woman from Sweden wanted advice on what to wear for an event she had been invited to at Windsor Castle.
The FCO received 330,000 calls in 2019 it said in its end-of-year review.
The FCO typically advises British holidaymakers on issues such as obtaining Emergency Travel Documents; being hospitalised abroad; and advising people who have been jailed while on holiday.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “While we can’t hand out famous rappers’ phone numbers, collect your lost property or advise on Windsor Castle’s dress code, our dedicated consular staff are there to help Brits who run into trouble when they’re abroad.
“Read our travel advice before you go away, make sure you have appropriate travel insurance, and if you get into difficulty, you can call the nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate.”
The issue of bad airline food is a hot-button one.
In August, another complained of being served an “absolutely disgusting” breakfast on a £1,200 long-haul flight; while in February a third was so dismayed by his underwhelming breakfast on a flight to Miami he called it an "absolute joke".
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