Passengers frown at airlines free reign at official extortion

…seek govt’s intervention
Passengers making use of local airlines for domestic flight have called on the Federal Government to intervene and put a halt to airlines attempts at official extortion.

Some of the passengers, who spoke to our correspondents last expressed frustration over deliberate moves by the operator to push passengers into tight corners in an attempt to make them pay more for trips that have already been paid for.

They pointed out that some of the operators were in the habit of closing the counter hurriedly, especially with regard to early morning flights and then directing the passengers to pay the difference for evening flights, which are usually more expensive.

Soecifically, passengers, who had booked for Air Peace flight to Abuja last Tuesday, were subjected to an unexpected trauma as the service providers for the airline at the counter suddenly stopped checking in passengers for first flight on the pretext that the aircraft was filled up and about taking off.

Irrespective of the fact that they were responsible for the change in schedule from 8:00am to 6:00 am, the airline workers insisted that the passengers, who earlier paid less than N45,000, and were less five minutes late to the counter, would havee to pay the difference for a 7:00 pm flight put at N95, 000.

The passengers, numbering over 8, were left disappointed as the supervisor on duty insisted that even the 4:00 flight for the day was already fully booked.

Findings by Newsfieldglobal, however, revealed that the supervisor was secretly giving preference to some of the passengers for the 7:am flight, although without any financial or otherwise inducement, why those who could not make a strong case were left disappointed.

In a particular case, a man, who approached the supervision with the excuse that his wife had an appointment with a doctor in Abuja was easily allowed to check in while others either paid the difference for the 7:00pm flight or went back home.

In chat with our correspondent, a lady, who came to the airport with a passenger for the flight, lamented the development, saying the airline should have taken responsibility for whatever lateness since they were they were the one that suddenly disrupted the passengers’ travelling arrangement by moving the schedule backwards from 8:00 am to 6:am.

Calling on the regulator or Federal Government to intervene, the lady, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said airline operators should not be left to treat passengers the way they like.

She said: “Just imagine what has happened. Despite the exorbitant fare paid, the airlines just feel they can treat passengers the way they like without being cautioned.

“This is the only country where I have seen regulators that are not performing their duties the way I it supposed to be.

“We booked for 8:00am flight and suddenly, just on their own, they moved back the time to 6:00am, and now we took all the risks to be here as early as possible, now they are telling us that the country has closed.

“Now, I said put him in the next available flight, which is 7:00am, they are telling me it must be the 7:00pm flight and that I would have to pay a difference of over N50,000. That to me is evil.

“I don’t blame them. They are having a free reign because we don’t have a government that cares.”

Also expressing disgust over the development, another passenger said he was scheduled to have a meeting that Tuesday morning by 10:00am.

He said the manner the workers quickly closed the country after selling tickets for passengers only revealed that they had sold the seats to other people who must have greased their palms.

According to him, “why would they suddenly close the counter and give the impression that the aircraft is filled up? Is it that they don’t know the number of tickets sold and the number of seats inside the aircraft?

“This is the fraud we are asking the government to check in this country. This is a country where everyone struggles on his own to work things out for himself, yet the so called government won’t ensure that the little things it should do to make life better are properly done.

“How do you expect me to pay over N40,000 to upgrade my ticket for a flight that is way outside my planned trip?”

“I even understand that there is a 7:00am flight, yet they are telling us to pay more and wait till 7:00pm. That is rather absurd.”

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