Friday, May 2, 2008

VOTE WITH YOUR FEET

I agree that it's almost always fruitless to collectively act without an end in mind (in the case of a BA boycott - apology/explanation from BA? better treatment by BA? more flight options on the Lagos-London route?) and outcomes to measure success (what constitutes better treatment and just HOW MUCH is better - no more kicking people off flights? no insectiside spraying?)

I also agree that sometimes Nigerians aren't the best-behaved passengers out there, but I have seen poorly-behaved passengers of various nationalities on many a flight, and so, as an airline/ airhost/ customer-facing employee of an airline, it would be integral not to act on generalizations about an entire nationality (wouldn't be easy), in the name of "customer service". Now, in the name of customer safety, as BA has belatedly pointed out, their decision to kick the 133 passengers of the plane was done in consultation with the UK police and was for the safety of the aircrew and other passengers (we had been made aware of the latter from the start).

Now that the exercise in frustration and venting has been carried out, as Naapali and Atutu have pointed out, it's time for a due diligence on the system and on ourselves. For those who consider themselves the best-behaved passengers out there (cough*yours truly*cough) and believe that BA and other foreign "service delivery" companies consistently overstep the line in their disregard/disrepect for your patronage/naira, you(we) know what you(we) need to do. Same goes for those who are tired and frustrated by the way they are treated by the institutions that govern us, and the way we treat (and mistreat) ourselves.


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British Airways, yesterday, rationalised the offloading of Nigerian passengers on board BA75 flight to Lagos last month.

It said the decision was taken in consultation with the United Kingdom Police in order to ensure safety of the said aircraft and passengers.


In a statement made available to THISDAY, the airline said the "disruption" on board the aircraft required the presence of policemen to contain the situation which it said was regretable.

"We regret the upset that the events onboard the BA75 to Lagos on 27th March have caused in Nigeria. We have made it clear that the decision to offload passengers was made in consultation with and on the advice of the UK police, and the sole aim of this decision was to ensure the safety of our passengers, aircraft and crew.

"Offloading passengers is not a decision that is taken lightly and is a rare occurrence. However the disturbance on board the BA75 service to Lagos on Thursday 27th March was a very serious incident which required the presence of 20 uniformed police officers to regain control of the situation" the statement said.

It further noted that "Given the level of disruption on board the plane as it was preparing to depart, it was not possible to pinpoint which passengers were the most involved. In addition our crew were subjected to both verbal abuse and physical assault which, in the confined space of an aircraft, can be a particularly serious issue. Hence the police decided, with the agreement of the Captain, that it would be unwise to let all the passengers travel on the aircraft as their behaviour could pose a safety risk".

The statement said that "Of the 133 passengers offloaded following the disturbance 64 re-boarded the flight before take-off. Those offloaded were of various nationalities including British & American passengers. There was also a mix of nationalities among those who flew including Nigerian passengers".

On the arrest of one of the passengers, the airline stated that "The arrest and detention of one of the passengers involved was a police decision and is not something that British Airways can comment on.

The remaining offloaded passengers were offered overnight accommodation where appropriate and were rebooked on alternative flights".

"British Airways has a long and proud history of serving Nigeria and its people.

For over 70 years the Airline has flown from the UK to Nigeria, connecting the country to the rest of the world. We are working with the Nigerian government to ensure we continue to provide our Nigerian passengers with the high standard of customer service British Airways is renowned for", it said.

10 comments:

Doja said...

Ok so we got the 'apology'? Can we fly BA now?

Bitchy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Naapali said...

tAB thanks for your diligence on this topic. I have not flown BA for a long time and do not intend to start anytime soon.

For the love of me said...

The apology is almost as insolent as the act in itself. But they will be more careful next time.
Meanwhile I need your email address, please can you send it to me via uo8@leicester.ac.uk

Anonymous said...

The apology is poor and certainly not genuine..,

I think that Dele Momodu hit the nail on the head in his thisday column on Sat. BA could not give a toss about Nigerians.. The elites are happy to patronise and apparently BA's first class tickets are so in demand that it is difficult to get a ticket for the weekend flights....

As long as BA have the "old money" patronage, they dont give a million monkeys about we the normal people think.

Kome said...

hahahaha you guys call that an apology? I think it was simply an excuse...

If this statement were true:

...we continue to provide our Nigerian passengers with the high standard of customer service British Airways is renowned for...

I don't think we would even be having this conversation right now.

Sherri said...

back to business as usual?

Jinta said...

the nigeria route is the most profitable for ba after north america. why can't we, for once, act as one and show the sort of pressure we can wield?

i suspect ba is being mischievious when they say off-loaded passengers included british and american citizens - these are probably british and american PASSPORT-CARRYING nigerians

common people, let's show willie walsh that we're a bunch of enlightened people, not just a set of saps who use dictionaries to put up blog posts

Doja said...

Ok I would keep up the boycott.

In my head and around me said...

"British Airways has a long and proud history of serving Nigeria and its people"

Something about this sentence doesn't sound right. Yeah, I think its the part about serving Nigeria and its people. Let me tweak it a bit.

"British Airways has a PROUD history.."

Yep, that sounds right.