Friday 5 January 2007

Nigeria will not tolerate rude airlines

Aviation in better hands, it seems

After all the aircraft accidents in Nigeria which lead to the redeployment of the oaf that was put in charge of overseeing that carnage, the replacement with Femi Fani-Kayode as Aviation Minister left many rather unimpressed, most especially myself.

It would however appear Mr Fani-Kayode is doing something useful in that position and this should be commended.

He has revoked licenses of some airlines, berated some of their activities and exacted policies to help improve safety and bolster confidence in a precarious aviation industry.

Now, he has set his sights on poor customer service on airlines that operate between Europe and Nigeria; their rude staff, as reported by the BBC.

Rude trolley dollies

I have heard of instances where passengers have been treated with utter contempt by trolley dollies (cabin crew) and it has required launching a formal complaint with the threat of involving race relations to obtain grudging apologies from these airlines.

What is really annoying is that these African routes are rarely bargains, there is good business and a profit being made from Nigerian travellers but the quality of service is despicable, sometimes to the extreme.

A grievance to be addressed

Mr Fani-Kayode said he “would not sit by and allow our people to be treated like animals by anybody or for any reason”

This is a valid grievance that needs to be addressed pronto by both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic and if this information has not percolated upwards that it has had Becky Livingstone of BA saying, “We take great pride in our customer service and have the same excellent standards for all our customers throughout the world”. They have now been given notice and they have to act.

If BA is very distressed, it is because they have rotten staff, visiting the Aviation Minister does not address his concerns if they do not improve the service and Virgin Atlantic is preparing a response to his valid and truthful accusations.

Asking that Nigerian passengers be treated with respect and decency is not too much to ask, especially as we also pay premium fares.

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