Written on January 2nd, 2015 in New York.
Back when I was in high school, I remember one of my friends saying that Nigerian flight landed abroad, everyone claps… I can’t remember if her point was that the planes are very dangerous or because Nigerians are so unnecessarily dramatic. I remember how we argued that she was just exaggerating. After all, a couple of our friends had also traveled out of the country and there had been no applause.
Yesterday /day before yesterday (depending on the time zone), I landed in New York from Lagos and for the first time, I experienced the clapping and honestly, I clapped along in my head. A lady even shouted “Praise the Lord” and the passengers responded ‘Hallelujah'(I would have actually clapped and shouted along but I was too tired).
You see, this flight was supposed to depart from Lagos on December 31st at 11:45pm. After a hectic day running around doing last minute preparations, my family and I got to the airport around 7 or so. Some armed guy tried to harass us on the way in by saying he would delay us for 30 minutes for reversing even though there were no signs that asked us not to reverse. However, my parents don’t have time for all that rubbish so he let us go. At the gate, the people there said they were only letting the travelers alone to go in but since I was using crutches, my family took my boxes in and they let us all in. Later on, I heard that they let people not traveling come in after bribing them with 1,000 nairas. Can you imagine?
Customs was great and while I was checking in, someone whispered to the cashier and after he attended to me, he asked the person behind me to wait for some time. We were so happy that I had checked-in before the halt. We went downstairs to activate my bank card of my Mastercard which I got earlier in the day. I had to use the particular bank’s ATM if not, my card would not work. After several tries, it didn’t work. So we left and decided to see if they had continued check in. This was around past 8. My parents had planned to leave by 8.
Back at the airline counter, we recognized the lady behind me earlier and she still hadn’t checked-in so my dad went to inquire. We were told that the flight had been canceled.
Who cancels an international flight for no reason, about 2 hours before departure? Only in Nigeria.
As expected, people were furious. The worst thing was the nonchalant attitude of the airline officials. Every staff disappeared except a lady and two men. When we asked what to do next, we were told: “Come back and check tomorrow “. The lady who checked in baggage said maybe we will go by 3 the next day. I had TWO connecting flights that I was supposed to catch and they really couldn’t care less. The man who spoke to us said that the passengers were all trying to incite each other so he wasn’t going to respond. No remorse whatsoever. We called our agent who said he would work on it but we would have to pay for changing our connecting flights.
I was just praying that my dad didn’t get a heart attack or something.
At that time, it was too late to go to midnight mass so we went home, watched EWTN and some cross-over service and I posted my first blog post (:
Long story short, I eventually arrived in Vancouver on the 3rd of January via Toronto and New York. Even though I had to sleep in a hotel in new york which cost us unplanned expenses, I am glad that everything worked out in the end. With that May God be praised!!