• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
businessday logo


Airport blues and looking for me at a Nigerian airport

Airport blues and looking for me at a Nigerian airport

So, I am sitting in the waiting lounge at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. My destination is Lagos. The crackling and annoying sounds of the public address system are getting my goat as I watch passengers stride up and down the lounge. As a people watcher, I have an eyeful. A young lady struggling to tame her bulging breast and another not-so-young lady whose behind is clearly enhanced. She rolls her slim body, and her luggage follows behind her casually. Eyes pop. It’s not a pretty sight.

The announcements are coming in trickles. I am praying that there are no delays. When I made the same trip two weeks ago, it was a gymnastic dizzying experience. Cancellations and delays made us all dizzy. Flights are moved from 9 am to 3 pm and then to 7 pm. No respect whatsoever for the flying customer. The current Aviation minister, Festus Keyamo, SAN, who is my person, should tell the airlines they cannot do that. Taking advantage of citizens. No announcement. No information. We paid for the service. We can sue them. I missed two meetings and suffered financial losses. Not funny in the least.

Read also: Why some Nigerian airports cannot have 24 hours operation – MD FAAN

Back at the airport this week, and I am asking myself why there are two people fighting in the announcement department. So someone begins to make an announcement, and another person’s voice interrupts that person cutting the announcement short and rudely making another announcement. What’s that? What kind of information dissemination is that? In the end, we do not know what they have said. Bros Festus. Biko, whoever is causing disgrace in this announcement business should stop it. Don’t they have supervisors? Why are they struggling over announcements? In the end, the passengers lose out on critical information. It’s terrible!

Okay, so I have been wondering what happened to an airline that I thought had it all together locally. Always on time. Clean planes. Top-notch service. Then, three weeks ago, I got a rude shock. Postponements, cancellations, and delays in their dozens. The ground staff did not have information, and I was left buying multiple tickets to meet my commitments. It’s totally insane. When I dug deeper, I was told our airline which was considered one of the best in Nigeria had escalated to Ghana and so had pulled out some of its planes to service Ghana, robbing her citizens’ noses in the mud. I am still investigating if this is true. The services were truly disastrous.

Read also: Nigerian airports miss out on top 100 busiest list in 2023

But the highlight of today’s story had to be that my flight this week was on time. Hurray! Not so fast, your celebration with me, I mean. Sitting comfortably in the bowels of the plane, I was feeling very comfortable as we prepared for take-off. Two of the crew members whispered to each other and one of them headed towards me asking for my boarding pass. Is there a problem, I asked. Not at all, he said. We are missing a passenger. Eyebrows raised, I handed him my boarding pass. He took a look at it curiously and returned it to me. Then my phone rang. A friend was calling me from the airport lounge.

Are you at the airport, he asked. I was, I said but I have now boarded, ready for take-off. Are you serious, he said. They are announcing that they are looking for you here at the waiting lounge. I was incensed. I am sitting on the plane, I said to him. These people are insane, I heard him mutter. Don’t mind them, he continued. It was the height of inefficiency and unnecessary panic.

I am a public figure. What this idiotic nonsense means is that someone who does not know their job or is not paying attention has decided that I am still at the lounge and then proceeded to announce my name as someone booked to travel, has changed their mind and who does not possess the decency to let the airline know. In announcing my name, they have exposed me to the world as either a fraud, an irresponsible woman, an impersonator, or a threat. In the meantime, I am sitting on an aeroplane, and everyone is staring at me as they recheck my boarding pass.

All this has never happened to me before both internationally and at home. I am a very disciplined traveller. On time and well behaved.

I am currently looking for a lawyer to take this up with the airline. Reputational damage and massive embarrassment to my name and brand. Any takers?