It was a Friday morning, the 1st day of May 2015, a public holiday – Workers day – the beginning of a long weekend. I had woken up early aiming to be picked up by the shuttle bus to Murtala Muhammad Airport.
I had booked my flight on Thursday to the oil city of Warri after confirming from Arik about the availability of a flight. I woke up relatively late but was three-quarter dressed as i hopped into the shuttle bus in the early hours of that Friday.
My high hopes of seeing the city of Warri was dashed immediately i got to the airport. “No flight to Warri today, No aviation fuel” said my travel agent. Seriously? Thursday was hell in Lagos due to the fuel scarcity but i never expected it to affect flights out of Lagos.
I had given a piece of my mind on twitter with hastag #ArikAirFail and i shared a missed flight experience about a year ago not knowing that i will face a similar situation soonest. What is wrong with Arik.
They informed us that they had just two flights out of Lagos that Friday – 7am flight to Port Harcourt and 9am flight to Abuja. Every other flight was cancelled, even for the next day Saturday. I was livid because other flight providers like Aero et al were not cancelling their flights. You need to see the way people reacted to the news. Few days ago, the passengers had a major showdown where they blocked the exit doors of the boarding room.
So does it mean that the scarcity affected just Arik or they had used up their resource faster than others. I refuse to accept that. Flights to non-PH and non-abuja cities have a 50-50 chance of coming to pass with Arik.
So I waited and hoped for a miracle. I was to catch a crew in Warri going to do a field job. I had to be in Warri by 1pm but as at 12.45pm, there was no hope.
I looked around looking for where to sit -none – except for a couple of metal pews managed by the snacks bar/shop. Where are the pews that used to be in the airport hall? They have been moved away and replaced by kiosks belonging to the likes of MTN, Etisalat, Glo and Airtel. Imagine standing from 6am till 1pm. There is no fear of God at all.
What has this country become? What has Arik become? Their cancelled flights are becoming unbearable despite being the most expensive flight provider.
Nigerians will begin to talk bolder steps and demand for quality service from providers of services. How long can we continue to be comfortable by just hoping?
I got home disappointed to have missed that job. It was to be my first in a while. My flatmates were surprised to see me back but i was disappointed to have seen my plans dashed.
Can we continue like this?
By Chibuzor Amos (@AmosCP)
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