The British High Commission in Lagos seems to have perfected plans to frustrate London bound passengers of ArikAir. Indications are also that UK bound passengers on the airlines are being subjected to a special screening by the high commission, through its UK border agency.
This is because of recent development being meted out to some Arik passengers at Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos. It was gathered that, passengers especially first time visitor on ‘C’ visa class are being referred to the UK Border Agency liaison officer at the ArikAir counter before a boarding pass could be issued.
At a particular instance, a passenger was referred to a lady liason officer at the counter who conducted another round of interview for the passenger. On the excuse that the lady passenger could not produce a valid hotel reservation, she was asked to report at the Lagos Deputy High Commission on Walter Carrington, Victoria Island, the following day. At the High Commission, she was informed that her visa has been revoked since her hotel reservation could not be confirmed. A copy of the visa page was confirmed with a note that reads, “Revoke On Authority of ECO (Entry Clearance Officer) Lagos.“
News of the people gathered that no fewer than two passengers are being interrogated and denied boarding on every Arik London bound flights.
An email to the High Commission was not replied as at the time of going to the press while all efforts to speak with Arik Air proved abortive.
How FG DECLARED ARIK AIRLINE WORST AIRLINE IN NIGERIA
Following the observation that Arik airline tops the list of airline operators that abuse customers’ rights, the Federal Government of Nigeria has declared it the worst airline in Nigeria. This was disclosed at a meeting which the Consumer Protection Council, (CPC), held with the Airk Airline management to discuss on how to resolve the menace.
Making the disclosure while briefing newsmen at the end of the council’s meeting with the representatives of Arik Airline, the Director-General of CPC, Ify Umenyi bemoaned the actions of the airline workers to their passengers, saying that adequate and good services are the inalienable rights of the consumers who are entitled to value for their money. She noted that as an airline flying international routes, it was expected that Arik should blaze the trail in consumer services. “Unfortunately,” she said, “from complaints that we have received so far, the airline is one of the two Nigerian airlines that have been severally complained about by customers considering their poor services.”
She said “while we have acknowledged that flights could be delayed for technical reasons, from the complaints we have received on Arik airlines, flight delays appear to be the norm.” News of the People learnt that the attitudes of Arik ground staff leave a lot to be desired as they often tend to be rude, uncooperative and unfeeling about the consumer and that consumers are currently frustrated with the inability to reach the company or get any reasonable explanation to basic issues. On the way forward, the CPC boss directed that whenever there is delay, passengers must be informed well in advance, just as the information must be adequate, timely and truthful and when any delay goes beyond two hours, the passenger must be given the option of refund.
The CPC boss also pointed out that when it comes to flight cancellation, passengers should, as a rule and obligation, be given at least an alternative airline facilitating or a full and immediate refund. On baggage handling and overbooking, the CPC boss directed that prompt compensation should be given to consumers for loss of any baggage and where the airline has overbooked and a passenger is denied boarding for any reason, the airline has a duty to get the consumer on to another flight to the same destination at no extra cost. Umenyi disclosed that so far, after the consultative meeting with the representatives of Arik, the airline had accepted the blame their shortcomings and inadequacies, and said remorsefully that they had already started addressing some of the issues raised.
She urged Nigerians to always demand for compensation whenever their rights were abused or infringed upon, noting that, “when compensation is demanded, there is the tendency that the abuse would reduce to the barest minimum and we want them to start respecting consumer rights”.