Speaking to The Guardian, a Kano-based businesswoman, Miss Abiola Oluwatoyin, said her evening flight (Lagos-Kano) with Arik airline was cancelled without prior notification. “I was forced to sleep over in Lagos even when I didn’t plan for such. The management of the airline later disclosed that the flight was cancelled for operational reasons. I have to appeal to a family friend to assist me in picking my bills for the night, because I have expended my money. I narrowly escaped being swindled by one of the airport touts, who offered to help me get a cheap hotel around the airport,” she said.To Miss Ayo Omotola Oni, a make-up artist, the experience was not different. Her afternoon flight from Lagos- Abuja was shifted to late evening.
According to her, ‘I had to keep calling the people I was going to meet to explain reason for my delay and I slept on the airport chairs for hours while waiting for the flight to be announced. In fact, I slept and woke up severally before the delayed flight was announced for boarding. Eventually, we boarded alongside Sokoto passengers and we didn’t sit according to our seat numbers.” Sharing his experience, a Security Personnel, Mr Abimbola Sunday said that his Lagos-Kano flight was delayed for four hours without any previous notification.
While waiting for the flight, I listened to music and walked around the airport. What saved me was that it was on a Saturday and I was to resume on Monday. Otherwise, it would have turned out to be a trouble day for me at work. What about others, who have something to do in Abuja that day. From 2pm, we left Lagos for Kano by 6pm,” Abimbola said.
On what should be done, Abimbola said it is high time regulatory agencies live up to expectation. “If we truly want the operators to sit up; then, their activities should be monitored constantly with a view to ensuring prompt take off time. ”
Meanwhile, traveling by air confers certain rights on the travellers, but it also comes with some responsibilities. Among the main ones are the right to the full value for your money as a passenger; the right to compensation for flight cancellation, delays, damaged/loss baggage and denied boarding for reasons other than technical, weather conditions, air traffic control restrictions, security risks and industrial disputes that affect the operation of the flight; the right to book and confirm tickets with an airline of your choice; the right to the provision of a conducive airport environment before, during, and after flight; the right to seek redress for all irregularities during your flight; the right to timely feedback in respect of matters/complaints lodged with service providers; the right to be fully informed about flight status and the right to be treated with respect and dignity irrespective of race or physical condition.