…Says No Luggage No Boarding
…As Popular Yoruba Actor Regrets Flying With The Airline
There was commotion at Arik Air’s counters at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos today as angry and stranded passengers of the airline threatened to prevent the airline from boarding any other passengers except their luggage were delivered to them.
The passengers, who landed at the airport on Saturday 3, 2016, said that the airline abandoned them and treated them as if they were not its passengers, wondering if it is a crime for them to board the airline.
The angry passengers lamented that since the aircraft landed in Lagos; Arik Air staff at the counter disappeared, adding that most of them have missed the business transactions and other engagements they travelled to Nigeria for.
While these stranded passengers were threatening brim stone and fire if they don’t get their luggage, another London bound passengers, whose flight should have departed the international terminal of Lagos Airport at 11 am for London were also seen at 3 pm lamenting not knowing what befalls them.
When Abelnewsng.com visited the terminal, the airlines counters were filled to capacity with passengers who have been waiting for their luggage since Saturday and the stranded London passengers, who were yet to depart Lagos at 3pm for 11 am flight.
Most of the passengers, who spoke to the online platform on the condition of anonymity, decried the services rendered by the airline, adding that as you can see (pointing to the airline’s counters), the officials have all disappeared.
A female passenger who spoke to abelnewsng.com lamented that she arrived Nigeria on Saturday and since then she has not been able to take her insulin and other medication, as they are all in her luggage
Another female passenger on wheel chair who pleaded with our correspondent not use her name for security reason said that she has not taken her medication since she arrived on Saturday.
She berated the airline for the treatment meted out to them, adding that if had known, she would not have boarded the airline in the first airline.
Reeling out his ordeal, one of the passengers, who identified himself as Henry, lamented that he came to wed in Nigeria and that his wedding has been fixed for next week.
He further lamented that everything he brought for the wedding are in his check –in luggage, adding that by now he should be putting finishing touches to his plans but that he cannot do that without seen his luggage.
“I have been making arrangements for the past six months and now see what Arik Air has done to me. Since I came I have been putting on this black and black as if I am going for a funeral for the past five days. I have not changed my clothes. Is this fair? He asked rhetorically.
Also narrating his ordeals, is another passengers, who claimed that he was to attended a burial ceremony and that items for the burial including his clothes are inside his yet to be delivered luggage .
He stated that the airline has made him uncomfortable with the holding back of his luggage.
On the delayed Arik Air 11 am London flight, a popular Yoruba Movie actor, who pleaded with Abelnewsng.com not to mention his name, stated that he would not blame Arik Air but that he created the chance for the airline to mess him up.
According to him the last time he travelled to London, he boarded an Eastern Africa based airlines that upgraded his ticket and treated him as if he was a governor but that he left that airline and decided to take Arik Air.
“See what Arik Air is doing to me now. The flight that was supposed to depart for London at 11am has not departed as at 3pm. I put myself in this situation. It is not Arik’s fault.” He said
He stated that to worsen the situation officials of the East Africa airline that upgraded him to first class met him at Arik Air counters with other stranded passengers and that when he saw them he was uncomfortable because he did not appreciate the star treatment the airline gave to him the last time he flew with them.
Meanwhile, efforts by one of the pilots, whose name abelnewsng.com could not ascertain, fell on deaf ears, as he was told point blank that they would not allow any other passengers to board the airline’s flight except their luggage, are delivered.
However, Arik Air has explained that a change in aircraft due to maintenance on its operational aircraft scheduled on the Lagos-London route since December 1, 2016 has constrained the airline to leave some baggage behind.
The airline said that over the past three days, Arik Air has been using a smaller aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, to operate the Lagos-London Heathrow route due to maintenance on the wide-body A330-200 aircraft allocated on the route.
According to it, “One of the airline’s Airbus A330-200 aircraft had been hit by a handling company at John F Kennedy International Airport New York on Thursday, December 1, 2016 consequently triggering the B737-800 to be deployed on the Lagos-London route. In order to avoid cancellation of the Lagos-London Heathrow flights, an alternative B737-800 aircraft had to be allocated on the route to minimize the inconvenience to booked passengers.”
The statement continued, “The airline was constrained in capacity from a wide-body A330-200 aircraft to a narrow-body B737-800 aircraft and thus had to leave some of the passengers’ baggage behind in London. Passengers were however duly informed of this capacity restriction at the check-in desk at London Heathrow Airport and were advised of the possibility that some of their baggage will have to be sent on subsequent flights as per space availability.”
Arik Air said that it has the most generous in-cabin and checked in baggage allowance on the route and that due to capacity restrictions on the smaller B737-800 aircraft, the airline has had to drop some of the baggage in order to accommodate maximum number of passengers.
Arik also said that an extra aircraft was also operated to London Heathrow on Sunday, December 4, 2016 to accommodate all passengers and some outstanding baggage.
“Passengers have been assured that all the backlog of their baggage would arrive in Lagos on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 6 and 7, 2016 respectively. Arik Air regrets any inconvenience this development may have caused its esteemed guests” The statement further reads.