[Updated] My rant about Air Nigeria’s Frequent Delays

Air Nigeria has already apologized for this here

In recent times, I have been concerned about the flight operations of my favourite regional airline, Air Nigeria.

Some minutes before I got my hands on the keyboard, I tweeted three distinct qualities of my choice airline. They are as follows:

  1. Security Conscious
  2. Delays Less
  3. Excellent Flight Experience.

I regret to write that Air Nigeria has failed woefully in No. 2 above. Hence my rant.

Recently, I met someone at one of the Embassies in Abuja who passed this comment “Air Nigeria is synonymous to delays” when we were discussing about local airlines. “That’s completely wrong”, I argued, but only a few more flights with Air Nigeria convinced me that my new friend was right.

The truth is that Air Nigeria is loosing her customers to competitors gradually and I guess it’s unknown them. I now know people who have vowed to do all they can to avoid flying with Air Nigeria.

I was sad when I saw this tweet on my TL some minutes ago:

#pele. Ppl who keep appointments don’t fly Air NG. RT @hidden: Thanks Air Nigeria for the 7 hour delay. All my energy has been sapped

@hidden is not the real handle of the consoled above. I put “hidden” just for the sake of privacy. What that RT implies is that Air Nigeria already has a negative image to most people “who keep appointments”. While this may not be completely true, it is how ever noteworthy that most people who saw that tweet has already formed a perception of Air Nigeria. Sad!

On the 3rd of November, I was at the airport for over 8 hours just because my Air Nigeria flight was cancelled without prior notice. Not too long ago, my friend was delayed for over 4 hours or so at the ABV airport. As a matter of fact, all the people I have convinced to start patronizing Air Nigeria are already regretting listening to me in the first place.

Over 50% of those who travel by air do so because of the speed involved. Now that flying with Air Nigeria is now almost equal to travelling by road; then I think people will soon stop flying. Imagine someone who has the intention of travelling to Lagos to attend to an urgent ¬†business activity by 4pm. To give uncertainty a fair chance, he decided to book a 11:15 flight. Under normal circumstances, he is supposed to be in Lagos by 12:15. I think that’s fair enough.

Surprisingly, his flight was first delayed for 30 minutes. “That’s not too bad, at least my defense is still 4pm.” Just as if the 30 minutes delay will be all. To cut the whole story short, this man couldn’t leave ABV airport until around 7:30pm. That’s poor, isn’t it. Well, that was the similar experience of one man I met the airport recently. We actually experienced it together. Since that was not the first time he will experience that with Air Nigeria, he has then decided to stop patronizing Air Nigeria, “irrespective of how cheap their fares are.” I wonder what Air Nigeria will do to get my co-flier back.

You need to be see what I’ve seen at the airport lately, when people’s flights are delayed. Oh! How frustrating it can be to sit on one spot for several hours and not have anyone apologize to you. Some people have emergencies to attend to at their destinations. Some have urgent business activities to perform. Some are the verge of loosing something important. But only to get to the Airport and now get a delay of over 7 hours in exchange for their money. Too bad!

I gave the above scenarios to make you or probably Air Nigeria (if they pay attention to this, anyway) understand my point that soon enough, fliers will be true to themselves and reject such airlines (like Air Nigeria) that gives them a frustrating flight experience. Sincerely, this is one of the major reasons I stopped patronizing my previous favourite local airline. So, am afraid, I may soon stop patronizing Air Nigeria.

Air Nigeria has been my best regional airline. I sing their praises on twitter to the extent that some of my followers thought I was paid by them to tweet. (the staff in charge of Air Nigeria’s twitter activities should be able to testify to this)*Definitely Not* I have been enjoying their services. I can’t forget that smiling young man *memories* who served me excellently. However, I must be true to myself that those were all old days. In fact, I and many other customers don’t even bother about who the host or hostess is. After waiting for 7 hours, who cares if the person serving you puts on a smile or not. People’s concern has now been shifted from getting a “Memorable Flight Experience” to “Getting To Our Destination Faster”. This shouldn’t be.

Finally, Air Nigeria needs to be conscious of the fact that more local airlines are springing up in Nigeria. This start-ups will be doing all they can to out-smart old airlines. The competition will soon get more tough in the aviation industry. By then, only airlines that excellently satisfy their customers or have the most favourable brand perception will survive. Trust me on that!

I hope Air Nigeria does listen to the truth behind my rant.

Yours “passionately”.

Technopreneur. Chief Hustler at 1Plify. PhD scholar [Technology entrepreneurship]

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