The Not-so-Ultimate Guide to Flying in Nigeria
A brief research top google hits for safest means of civilian transportation shows that flying is the safest means of transportation with only 12 global commercial aviation accidents in 2014 according to CNN. Due to the nature of my job I travel a lot. A lot more than anyone who dreads flying should but hey- my love for shopping won’t pay my shopping bills.
So here is a list—which is by no means exhaustive of things I have observed, and little tidbits of advice you need when travelling by air in Nigeria.
1- Once you get out of your car- trolleys and their administrators will assault you. Take one and push it by yourself. This costs you N150. In Lagos MMA II with a porter it’s N500. In Abuja its N400. In the old local airport in Lagos where Arik operates from it ranges from “anything you want to give me” to whatever stupid amount the porter thinks he deserves”. If you are a bit sleepy or you are in 5 inch heels please use a porter.
2- Your flight will be delayed. In the immortal words of Celine Dion – “…rain, tax its inevitable.” This means that you will wake up at an ungodly hour, hurry to the airport, strip yourself naked to go through security and finally be ready to fly 30 minutes before your stated boarding time. Then you wait for a minimum of 1 hour till a maximum of infinity.
No I am serious- someone once had a flight from Owerri to Lagos and waited 9 hours.
3- The airline will only offer half-baked apologies. This never used to be an issue till I was stranded on a local flight in the US of A- and the airline provided me with toiletries to freshen up and a blanket and a make shift night dress. They say when you wake up, that is your morning. On this matter I am forced to agree.
4- Flight modes on devices are your business. If you are a last minute princess like myself who likes to prepare for meetings on the plane. I have news for you. You will not be allowed to use your device on the plane- why? Nobody knows.
Me: But it is on flight mode-
Air hostess: Please madam put it off.
Me: Only for takeoff?
Air hostess: For the whole duration of the flight.
5- You can-not fly with liquids. No not just in your hand luggage. In your actual checked in suitcase as well; so when you are in another city and you come across a rare bottle of say Zobo or Kunu you might just have to drink it at security or gift the FAAN officials.
6- Plane food is not food. It is a badly baked cup cake and a 200ml cup of Fuman fruit juice or water and you can only have one.
7- Which brings me to my next point- Airport food is EXPENSIVE! The prices are exorbitant. Unreasonable. Outrageous. This further buttresses my conspiracy theory of how the airport restaurants pay the airlines to delay their flights so poor unsuspecting passengers would have no choice but to eat 3 horrible square meals at blood money prices.Note
8- There is little or no provision for the physically disabled. This means no elevators or lifts or step free access in most of the local airports. This is such a shame.
9- The life jackets used for the security demonstration are always so damn dirty. This I find really strange especially as it has never been used before.
10- Air hosts and hostesses live for reclining seat drama. Which means they would never ever…ever…EVER attempt to mediate two disgruntled passengers on that “put your seat up drama”
I lied when I said I had advice to make local flying bearable. I have just three tips- change all your contingent liabilities potential bribe to small denominations- N200 and N500 preferably in mint condition.
Also a bit of an accent with sunglasses might make flying a little bit more pleasurable.
Finally if you must fly- Take only the first flight out of that city. These are the ones with the lowest probability of getting infinitely delayed.
So frequent fliers locally in Nigeria is there anything I missed out?