This line, “Once again, please accept our humble and sincere apologies, you and your patronage are dear to us, we exist to serve you,” has been overused by Arik Air.
Arik Air’s 'achievements' over the last decade can be credited from taking over the Nigerian Airways in 2006 to its latest, ‘Routing Gabon through Port Harcourt’.
Beyond these 'achievements' is a cluster of disappointments, an array of incompetence, and a caboodle of illegal acts served to its customers through uncommunicated delays, lack of organisation, terrible customer service, absurd flight reschedules, unprofessionalism of its crew, amongst other bothersome acts.
“We learn from failure, not from success,” Irish author, Bram Stoker once said. Arik Air seem not guided by this principle.
According to the airline’s website, “Arik Air is West Africa’s leading airline”, but how do you lead when your customers are never happy?
Arik Air is incompetent. So incompetent that a 15-year-old boy hid in the tyre hole of an Arik Air plane enrouting Benin to Lagos in August 2013.
In March 2014, Banky W was one of the passengers on Flight W3107 enrouting Lagos to New York which inhumanly locked passengers on the plane for over one hour without turning on the air condition .
Banky stated that though boarding was complete and cabin doors have been shut, the plane did not take off as scheduled due to ground crew operations. He added that the crew refused to turn on the air condition, and when the plane was finally set to fly, the Pilot started taxiing the plane on the runway without the passengers being fully seated.
Despite the uproar of complaints and negative trends, Arik Air issued no apology or statement, until the Customer Protection Council CPC issued an April 15, 2014 ultimatum for a full statement of what happened.
October 2014 Bayoor Ewuoso explained how the airline which prides itself of “efficiency, customer-commitment, adherence to aviation polices and standards and an avant-garde in providing quality aviation services,” lacked First Aid Kit on its plane.
According to Ewuoso, a cabin crew member accidentally poured tea on him and when he requested for a first aid or Vaseline to reduce the effect of the hurt, the crew member allegedly stated that the plane. The crew member then told Ewuoso to pour water on the affected area.
When contacted by Premium Times, Ola Adebanji, Arik Air’s spokesman denied the report saying that Ewuoso poured the tea on himself and that he did not ask for a first aid treatment.
Analysing the situation, if the service was good, Ewuoso didn’t need to 'ask' for the treatment, it should have been offered to him.
January 2015, a flight scheduled to fly from Abuja to Ibadan was cancelled after passengers waited 4 hours to board the plane.
In March 2015, Dr SID posted a picture of him at the airport on Instagram stating that his flight scheduled to enroute JFK International Airport, United States of America to Nigeria was delayed for 14 hours.
In his words, "Na wa o!!! flight delayed for 12hrs, boarding delayed for 2hrs like we don't have anything to do #GodisWatching."
March 2015, passengers who were scheduled to fly to Lagos on March 25, 2015 were stranded at UK’s Heathrow Airport after their flight was cancelled two nights in a row.
Similar to the March 2015 occurrence, in April 2015, passengers were stranded at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos for two days. This delay led to a violent protest by intending travelers.
February 2016, an eyewitness told Pulse.ng that a flight scheduled to leave Johannesburg, South Africa for Lagos by 11:40pm was delayed for about six hours without an explanation.
According to the reports the passengers had to make series of complaints before they were addressed. It seemed like the airline was waiting for escalation before they responded.
Another ordeal was sent to Pulse.ng by an anonymous source saying passengers going to Lagos, Jos and Kaduna on March 8, 2016 were lumped on the same flight without proper notification, not even considering the discomfort it might have caused.
March 9, 2016, a Nigerian posted on Instagram a picture of his 'hand written' boarding pass.
The passenger said, the flight from Yakubu Gowon Airport, Jos to Lagos was delayed for about 3 hours without proper communication, and just when they thought it was over, they handed them a 'hand written' boarding pass.
Following the numerous complaints from eyewitnesses, Pulse.ng reached out to the management of Arik Air on March 10, 2016, but as of the time of this publication pulse.ng received no reply.
Arik Air has turned deaf ears to the screams, and pleas of the Nigerian people, most recently an online petition was started against the airline, the management still did not address the issue.
This has become a national disgrace!!!
It is time to fix Arik Air. if it requires retraining the entire Arik Air staff, changing the management team or even the whole Arik Air team, just fix this Arumemi-Ikhide.
All we request from Arik Air is a change in service quality.
See tweets from angry Nigerians below;
Have you been serviced badly by Arik Air? Share your story in the comment section below.