‘Arik Air Duty Manager Tells Aggrieved Customer To, “Go To Hell”, Read The Messy Encounter

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Arik Air is one of the most respected airlines today and one would expect the best of services from the airline. Well, a client of Arik air narrated a very nasty experience with Arik air staff recently.
Here is the full report 

I boarded an Arik Air plane from O R Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg on the 21st of January, 2014.

 

We the passengers had finished boarding by 9:15 am for a flight that should take off for 9:35am. As at 10 am the plane was still on ground, a voice then announced to us that the flight is being delayed due to paper work that

had to be completed by Arik Air. 

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Finally the plane was ready to take off at 10:45 am over an hour of delay, we took off and the flight was smooth all the way till we landed in Lagos.

 

I was supposed to depart Lagos back to Johannesburg on Saturday 25th January, 2014. I got to Murtala Mohammed International Airport as early as 6:30 pm for a 10:40 pm flight. I got to Arik Air’s check-in counter and I saw the most disorganized queue ever. It was very rowdy. Everyone travelling via Arik Air (no matter the international route) was on the same queue. Passengers were paying Arik Air’s staff to jump the queue. The higher you pay the faster you are checked in.

 

It got to my turn and the Arik Security staff profiling passengers said my visa/permit was not valid for my trip. I was confused because I got my visa from The Department of Home Affairs, Pretoria via their Cape Town office. I wondered what was wrong; I was told to see another security Manager, Kingsley (who was off-duty) for further clarification. Kingsley told me that I will have to be off-loaded from the flight and I should go and apply for another entry visa to South Africa.

 

Meanwhile, as this was going on I noticed the security personnel of Arik Air were asking for all manner of documents from South Africa bound passengers such as admission letters, marriage certificates and so on. Once the passenger cannot provide any of the documents asked he/she is refused check-in or pay a minimum of Ten Thousand Naira and the passenger is allowed to check-in.

 

On Monday, 27th January, 2014, I went to the South African High Commission, Lagos; I was told there that my visa/Permit was good enough to travel that my Airline should be able to carry me that if they refuse to carry me they should issue me with a letter (called referral notice) that will query my Visa. So, with this information I proceeded to the Ikoyi office of Arik Air, I was advised by the manager in Ikoyi, that my case can only be handle by profilers of Arik Air located at Murtala Mohammed International Airport.

 

I left Ikoyi for the Airport, I met the Duty Manager (the same Kingsley) who told me Arik does not issue such letters, that I should just go and get another visa. I insisted I need a proof from Arik Air that I was denied check-in but Kingsley told me and I quote “if you don’t take your time I will get your name blacklisted and render all the visas you have useless”. At this point I had to leave the airport. The manager in Arik Air’s back office came out and she called me all manner of names. One of the staff said and I quote “only God knows where he got his visa”. I was made a laughing stock by Arik Air’s staff at the Airport that Monday afternoon.

 

On Tuesday 28th of January, 2014, my brother in-law in Johannesburg took a scanned copy of my visa page to the immigration office at O R Tambo airport in Johannesburg and he reliably gathered that my visa was valid. A call was put through to Arik Office in Sandton and my brother in-law informed me to go see Mr. Francis Okafor, the chief security officer of Arik Air. I went to see him and he asked for the receipt I used to apply for my visa in Cape Town, I provided it and he made copies of my visa and the receipt. He then gave me his card and wrote on his card “profiler, please allow pax to board, he has been cleared”.

 

I went with this card to the airport, first to Arik Air’s Ticketing office but was told no free seat till Saturday 1st of February, 2014. I was told to secure a seat on Saturday I will have to pay Twelve Thousand Naira. Thursday (30th January, 2014) morning I called Arik Air and I was informed there are seats available for that day’s flight to Johannesburg. I was told to get a seat on that flight I will have to pay Thirty One Thousand Naira, I paid because I needed to be in Cape Town South Africa as early as possible.

 

I went to the airport and I was checked-in easily and boarded the plane, at a few minutes to midnight our flight took off (almost an hour late). The flight was smooth and we arrived in Johannesburg smoothly and I went through immigration at O R Tambo International Airport and NOT one question on my visa. I was cleared by immigration within few seconds.

 

Let me digress a little, on the 20th of January 2014, I came into Johannesburg from Cape Town via a Mango Airline flight and I had a return ticket for Sunday, 26th January 2014. But because of the delay by Arik Air, I lost my return ticket. So, on Friday when I arrived I could not revalidate my ticket neither could I buy a new one because all seats to Cape Town (in all airlines) have been sold out till Monday. The only other option was to buy a bus ticket to Cape Town. I bought the bus ticket and I had to travel for 21 hours to Cape Town.

 

I sent the same Email on the 5th of February, 2014 as a reminder but still did not get a response

 

Later on that day I got a response from Arik Air via Anna Marie Muscardin <AnnaMarie.Muscardin@arikairint.com>;

Dear Mr Akinsete ,

I am really distressed to read such a letter .

This letter has been escalated to the Senior Vice President of Arik Air.

In the meantime while we wait for his reply please accept my apologies for all this inconvenience.

Best Regards

Anna-Marie

 

I did not get a reply from Arik Air for over two months so on the 8th of April, 2014 I sent a reminder to Arik (I resent my first Email) and copied editor@thisdaylive.com <editor@thisdaylive.com>; info@channelstv.com <info@channelstv.com>; letters@ngrguardiannews.com <letters@ngrguardiannews.com>; dr.damages@gmail.com <dr.damages@gmail.com>;

 

April 9th, 2014 I finally got a reply from Arik Via their Chief Security Officer Francis Okafor <Francis.Okafor@ArikAir.com>;

Dear Jibola,

Am surprise that you have to write such publication against arik air, because the very day you were denied boarding, you never showed the Profilers your complete document, the Visa you had was hand written with the Inscription to continue Visit, being that you have used the visa, any Profiler will like to get proof of obtaining such hand written visa from south Africa when you only traveled with a 3months expired visitor’s visa.

 

I will like to state here that we have incurred thousands of Rand fine for flying in passengers with fraudulent document, so if you are asked to go and get clearance from the Embassy, I don’t think it is a bad idea, we have had a lot of fraudulent documents trying to fly with Arik air into JNB, but am so disappointed the way you are taking this matter.

 

I was at the airport the very first day you were denied boarding and no body, I mean no body collected money from any passenger to facilitate their checking in. if you have any proof, please feel free to bring it to my notice and see if the staff will remain in arik air for one extra day.

 

We have two checking in point for JFK and JNB, You know fully the MMIA airport facility and its problem, you can’t blame that on Arik air.
Going back to your grievance on documentation, I did asked you if you presented the receipt and application form you used in obtaining the visa, you said know and you apologized for not presenting the documents and I can also remember telling you that if you had shown the documents, nobody would have stopped you from travelling.

 

I cleared you to travel base on the documents you presented at a very late stage when I did requested same from you.

 

In as much we want to give our dear guest(passengers) the best service, we also wants to prevent fraudulent passengers with fraudulent documents from flying our air craft for safety, Security and economic reasons.

 

We appreciate your love for Arik Air and I will like to assure you that we will continue to give you best, reliable and safe service.

B.Rgds.

Francis Okafor

Chief Security Officer

ARIK AIR LTD

Arik Air Aviation Centre

Murtala Muhammed Airport (Domestic Wing)

P.O. Box 10468, Ikeja

Lagos, Nigeria
And I replied him same day copying other Arik’s Emails

I am so shocked and bewildered to read this mail, absolutely surprised. Do i have to carry receipts I used to apply for a visa? if i didnt have the receipts I would not have flown? I have never seen a permit issued at the DHA in Pretoria that is not hand written. Even, with this delay Arik made me pay extra N43,000 to be able to fly on another day. The visa clearly stated multiple entries, what else did you need? No one at the airport asked for further documents. I was treated like a common fraudster, talked to anyhow like i was worthless. Your security man, Kingsley talked to me like i was a piece of trash, your duty manger told me to go to hell, LORD HAVE MERCY!

 

is this how you treat a paying customer? I was cleared at OR Tambo when I arrived Johannesburg within seconds, no query at all. This is so so sad.

Akinsete Ajibola

14, ******************** 7700

Cape Town,

SA,

 

 

I finally a reply from Arik’s Customer Relations via Arik Air Customer Relations <talktous@ArikAir.com>; on the 9th of April 2014

REF NO – LOSCMPAPTEML427

Dear Mr. Akinsete,

We refer to your email dated 08/04/2014.

This is to acknowledge that we have received your email which is now being reviewed by our customer relations officers and the reference number is as follows LOSCMPAPTEML427

We will revert to you upon completion of the internal review with further clarifications. We regret the inconvenience experienced.

Should you have further enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us on the below details.

Warm regards

Ifeoma Nnamani

Supervisor – Customer Relations

ARIK AIR LTD

Arik Air Aviation Centre

Murtala Muhammed Airport (Domestic Wing)

Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria

Telephone : + 234 (0)807 7791683

Mobile : +234 80 777 91683

Res : +234 1 279 9999 / +234 1 1-906700009

Email : talktous@arikair.com

 

 

When I did not get a response from Arik as I was promised on May 5, 2014 I mailed them again

 

Dear Arik customer care,

You replied my mail on the 9th of April, 2014 (about 26 days ago) and you promised to get back to me but up to date i have not got any respons from any one in Arik. Does it take over a month to look into cases at Arik? Honestly i do not understand the reason for the delay. In your mail you quoted this reference numberLOSCMPAPTEML427.

Hoping to hear from you soon,

Thank You

Akinsete Ajibola

 

 

On May 13, 2014, I got yet another response from Arik via Arik Air Customer Relations

Dear Mr. Akinsete Ajibola,

I must begin by apologizing for how long it has taken to give you a feedback as regards your complaint.

We regret to learn about your experience on 25th January 2014 while attempting to check-in for Arik Air Flight W3 103 operating Lagos-Johannesburg.

 

However as promised in our earlier correspondence and as is customary with us, we carried out an extensive investigation regarding your claim and also what transpired on the said date, our findings (which include documented security reports and the station day’s report) revealed that on 25th January 2014 while being profiled by our security agents, you presented a handwritten visa ,hence you were requested to get clearance from the South African Embassy.

 

We understand how devastating this must have been for you especially since you were eventually cleared , however this request was made as there have been several issues with the South African Immigrations bringing back Nigerians for not having the right documents/entry requirements. At Arik Air we try as much as possible to avoid such occurrence by ensuring our esteemed guest have their correct documents. Hence we regret all inconveniences caused.

 

Please be assured that Arik Air value’s her customers and aim’s to render excellent customer service to our clients at all times, conversely you would agree with us that the rules have to be obeyed for safety and security reasons and every of our esteemed guest have a role in ensuring this.

Finally we thank you for bringing your concern to our notice and for giving us an opportunity to clarify this case.

Warm regards

Ivie Omojafoh

Officer- Customer Relations

Customer Loyalty & CRM | Commercial

ARIK AIR LTD

Arik Air Aviation Centre

Murtala Muhammed Airport (Domestic Wing)

P.O. Box 10468, Ikeja

Lagos, Nigeria

Email: ivie.omojafoh@arikair.com

Email: talk2us@arikair.com

www.arikair.com

Telephone: + 234 1 2799900 Ext 4449| Mob: +234 (0)8077791683 | Fax +234 1 2799392

 

 

I replied same day

 

 

Good Afternoon,

This mail is coming well over one month, I just wonder how long it takes for Arik to respond to its supposed “esteemed” customers.

 

Back to the events of the 25th of January, 2014 I was never told that my visa was going to be investigated. I was told “point blank” that my visa was not valid for the trip. I was also told in order for me to go back to South Africa I will need to get ANOTHER entry visa.

 

It took the effort of my brother inlaw (not Arik) in Johannesburg to run around and get my visa verified. I was only allowed to travel after we got a nod from the Department of Home Affairs in SA.

Even, after I was cleared I paid Forty Two Thousand Naira to change my Ticket on the same Arik to change my dates. I bought a new connecting flight tickets to Cape Town. Who should bear these costs? The customer?

 

Let me state here again and categorically, I was called a fraud by your staff Kingsley on the 27th of January, 2014 he went ahead to threaten me that I will never be able to travel again if I am not careful. What arrogance? How is it my business if you can not verify a visa without your customer missing his or her flight? Is it the normal practice for the customer to bear the cost of such investigation? This is sickening, very sickening.

 

I DEMAND a refund of my Forty Two Thousand Naira (my change of ticket fee) and My One Thousand Two Hundred ZAR (my connecting flight ticket to Cape Town )

Akinsete Ajibola

 

Then same day too, Mr Francis Okafor replied

 

Dear Jibola,

You were not allowed to fly after getting the nod from the home affair.

 

I cleared you to travel when you presented a document you used in obtaining the extension visa which you did not do at the initial time.

 

I was the one that asked for the documents if you have them and you said yes and I queried that if you had shown the documents, you will not be stopped from flying and you apologised for not doing so.

 

 

I replied Mr Francis same day

 

Mr Francis,

 

I will advise you to stop replying emails, because you have a poor customer relations, you should just stick to your security duties

 

First on the 25th of. January, 2014, you were at the airport you never asked me for the receipts and I was denied boarding that day. I don’t want to flog the issue of receipts because I don’t understand why a passenger with a valid visa should carry a receipt he or she used to apply for a visa.

 

Back to the issue I paid 42,000 Naira for my ticket to be re-issued, should I have incurred that cost? Should I have incurred the cost for the my Cape Town return flight (R1,200)?

I demand a refund of these expenses,

Thank You

 

This was the last time I heard from Arik Air