Passenger Review 7

A word of caution to Arik Air from a passenger…

Note: The views expressed below don’t necessarily reflect those of the blog author

I was shocked this afternoon at the sight I witnessed at the boarding gate for an Arik Air flight from Lagos, Nigeria. A very large group of exhausted, irritated, unkempt looking international passengers were trying to get information about their flight. They looked like they hadn’t slept in days. I was catching another flight at a different gate but I had to stop and ask them what had happened. One tired gentleman told me that they had been at the airport since 9pm the night before, in order to catch their flight to South Africa at 11pm. However, when they came to the boarding gate, they were not allowed to enter the plane. They were not sure what the cause of the problem was and were not given any information by Arik staff. They were simply told not to leave the boarding gate area.

So they sat down thinking the delay would last an hour or two and they would be on their way home. The hours dragged by. Arik Air did not provide them with any answers, nor did they offer them hotel vouchers so they could wait comfortably for the next available flight, nor did they find them accommodation at the airport, nor did they provide meals for them or even snacks or drinking water. There is no toilet in the boarding gate area so there was no place for them to even go to the restroom or freshen up. They were not even given access to the lounge area so that they could rest. Only a few of them could find seats, the rest were sitting in their business suits on the floor.

This is how over 200 international passengers were held against their will without information, without assistance, without even food or water for more than 15 hours! It should also be noted that these TWO HUNDRED PASSENGERS were international passengers, meaning they were in a foreign country so there was no option to go back to their homes and wait for their flight information. They had no home there and had been prevented from going home for reasons unknown to them.

It is required of every airline to provide current, up to date information to their passengers. When there is a delay that is not due to the fault of the passenger, arrangements are to be made such as hotel vouchers, meal tickets, beverages and especially access to complete bathrooms!!! These passengers are human beings – not cattle! Yet they were treated without due respect.

This is not the first time Arik Air has behaved in a criminal matter. Many friends and associates have recounted stories of abuse at the hands of Arik Air. One business partner had his wallet taken from his seat pocket while he slept and $2,000 removed from it by an Arik staffer. He was the lone passenger in his row with an empty row both in front of him and behind him. The only one that could have bent over him while sleeping and been unnoticed would be the flight staff. A sister company of ours sent a team on retreat and when they arrived at their destination, the luggage for the entire flight had been left behind at the airport and there was no announcement made on board the plane before takeoff. But how can an airline leave all of the luggage on the tarmac and not load it before taking off?? That is incredulous! I believe if an inquiry is made, many more grievances, even worse than these, will be discovered.

While I was discussing with the man, an Arik staff appeared and announced the flight was now running and would be taking the TWO HUNDRED PASSENGERS to their destination. When prodded for the reason for the delay, the staffer reluctantly informed them that the delay was a lack of fuel in the plane!

This is outrageous and completely unacceptable. They have abused their position as an airline and their directors, managers and staff are not fit to run something so sensitive as an airline. We place our lives in the hands of airlines every day, trusting them to carry us safely from one location to another with our lives, our luggage and our decency in tact. Arik Air violates all of these trusts. Serious action should be taken to prevent our citizens from finding themselves trapped and abused at the hands of Arik Air.

Lucie.

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Arik Air & IATA’s Billing Settlement Plan

Comment from DMAN:

“I am a travel agent in Nigeria and it is a hassle issuing W3 tickets for international routes. Until W3 joins the BSP platform, they will be losing sales. It just takes a few keystrokes to issue other airlines while for W3 I need to prepare an LPO and carry cash for payment into their bank account.  Most customers do not have that time to waste.”

We hope that Arik Air will heed this advice and speed things up for its loyal passengers!

5 Comments

Filed under Distribution, Sales

Arik Air 737 Order Book (*Update*)

5N-MJQ (Delivered on Feb 23, 2010)

(POST UPDATED ON FEB. 25, 2010)

As of February 25  2010, Arik Air operates a total of 13 Boeing 737 Next-Generation aircraft  and a single “classic” variant.   Listed below is the 737 fleet with serial numbers and registrations.  A total of 15 Boeing 737-800s and 4 Boeing 737-900s are on order.   Arik Air’s fleet utilization rate is improving, with 2010 reported as a ‘consolidation year’ for the domestic services.  Regionally, Arik Air is poised to expand its network to other West and Central African cities this year with likely candidates being Douala, Libreville, Kinshasa, and Abidjan.

C/N Model Reg’n Notes
1750 B737-322 5N-MJA in service
2234 B737-7BD WIN. 5N-MJC in service
2248 B737-7BD WIN. 5N-MJD in service
2401 B737-7GL WIN. 5N-MJE in service
2427 B737-7GL WIN. 5N-MJF in service
2576 B737-76N WIN. 5N-MJG in service
2589 B737-7BD WIN. 5N-MJH in service
799 B737-76N WIN. 5N-MJI in service
809 B737-76N WIN. 5N-MJJ in service
855 B737-76N WIN. 5N-MJK in service
2789 B737-86N WIN. 5N-MJN in service
2819 B737-86N WIN. 5N-MJO in service
3030 B737-8JE WIN. 5N-MJP in service
3065 B737-8JE WIN. 5N-MJQ in service (delivered Feb 2010)
n/a B737-800 (15 units) 5N- Delivery 2010-2013
n/a B737-900 (3 units) 5N- N/A ?

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A Glimpse of Arik Air’s A330

Arik Air Airbus A330

Here’s a photo of Arik Air’s new Airbus A330 awaiting delivery at Châteauroux.  The aircraft, with (serial number)  MSN 1002 is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW 4168A engines and will be wet leased from Amentum Capital. The A330  will be used on the Abuja-London  route replacing the Boeing 737-800 service.  It’s not clear yet whether the A330 has the same interiors of the A340 but we certainly hope so!  With this latest delivery Arik Air operates 3 Airbus aircraft (2 A340s, 1 A330).

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Arik Air’s Missing Link

Entry contributed by: GlobalFlyer

For more than three years, Arik Air has succeeded in building a strong foundation for responding positively to the needs of its customers.  From one milestone to the next, the airline has met most, if not all, of its stated ambitions during its start-up phase.

In light of the seemingly slow economic recovery taking place in Nigeria and beyond, and the cut-throat competition among the local airlines, it would be reasonable to state that customers like myself expect higher value-for-money when patronizing an airline.  This holds especially true for business travellers.  In light of these facts, the introduction of a Frequent Flyer Program (FFP) by Arik Air would be entice most frequent travelers to fly Arik .  FFPs are loyalty programs offered by many airlines allowing enrolled members to accumulate ‘frequent flier miles’.  Acquired miles can be redeemed for free tickets, hotel stays, car rentals, travel class upgrades, airport lounge access,  etc.

Arik’s market share stands to rise even further as passengers loyal to other airlines with established FFPs switch allegiance to Arik.  It already boasts a more modern fleet of aircraft, the largest route network and highest number of daily frequencies on all its routes.  The missing link, therefore, for most frequent flyers hesitant in ‘abandoning accumulated flier miles with other airlines’ and flying with Arik, is a new FFP at the Wings of Nigeria!

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Filed under Other, Strategy

“Wings” Magazine is Available Online

ARIKZONE, a section of Wings Magazine published by Voyager Media

Since the last blog entry on Wings, Arik Air’s inflight magazine, the publishers have made it available for viewing online.

Positioned as a lifestyle magazine, the layout and content of the first edition is truly splendid, colorful, and cheerful.   Hopefully with the input and support of Arik Air, Voyager Media will keep up the good work, especially the focus on Nigeria’s innumerable cultural and tourist attractions.

February-April 2010 issue will feature articles on New York, successful Nigerians in London, and a South Africa 2010 World Cup special.

Perhaps Voyager Media could borrow any of these ideas for future editions:

1)        A special on Nigeria’s rainforests and its wildlife, and the latest programs to preserve them.
2)       Tech gizmos, the latest cell phones, laptops, 3d televisions, etc.
3)       An indepth guide to Accra (Ghana) which is becoming a popular holiday destination from Nigeria.
4)      An A-Z guide to becoming a pilot in Nigeria.
5)       A suggestions card.
6)      Literature section on the latest Nigerian and international books.

Why not offer the magazine in online format, linked to Arik Air’s website?

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Filed under Onboard amenities

“Wings” Magazine Takes to the Skies

Issue #1 (Dec-Jan 2010) of "Wings" is now available on board Arik Air flights

At long last, Arik Air’s “Wings” in-flight magazine has been released into circulation aboard the airline’s domestic and international flights. The quarterly, glossy finish magazine features sections such as “Arik Zone” and travel guides. This magazine is richly illustrated with professional photography.  Voyager Media is the publisher of Wings.  I hope that they will publish it online.  This adds a whole new dimension to the onboard experience on domestic and international flights.  The efforts of showcasing the best of what Nigeria has to offer are commendable.  Well done Arik Air, more feathers to your Wings!

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