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Passengers allege poor treatment by Delta Airlines


Delta Airlines

Some Atlanta-bound passengers, yesterday, protested against alleged poor treatment by the U.S. carrier, Delta Airlines.

The complaint, on account of a cancelled flight last week, saw some of the affected passengers been stranded for hours and later transferred to a hotel alleged to be “far from comfortable”.

The airline in its reaction, blamed the development on technical glitches of the operating aircraft and safety concerns for the scheduled passengers.

However, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has urged the aggrieved passengers to channel their complaints to its Consumer Protection Directorate’s Unit at the airport, for immediate redress where necessary.

Spokesperson of the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said “until we receive such reports, there is nothing we can do. We don’t act on hearsay,” Adurogboye said.

The Guardian learnt that the Lagos-Atlanta Delta flight was cancelled about four hours after the 10:30p.m. scheduled departure from Lagos. The difficulties and attendant delay in putting the passengers in hotels, in accordance to the rules, left some of the customers marooned all-night.

One of the passengers, Adeoba, said the fault was the cooling system of the aircraft at the point of boarding.

“That did not even border me. My problem is the attitude of their officials. They behaved as if it was not a big deal to have left us at the airport waiting for hours.

“It took them forever to put us in a lousy hotel, where some of us slept without clean bed sheets or comfort. I have never seen anything like this before. Can a Nigerian airline try such in the U.S. and hell will not be unleashed? This is not customer’s service,” Adeoba said.

Another passenger bound for Los Angeles, Ronke Banisedun, also expresses an unpleasant experience that forced her to return home in the wee-hour. But her misery did not end there.

In the words of Banisedun: “We were informed that the flight will depart on Thursday, January 23rd at 6 p.m. (a day after the cancelled flight) after which I got another email saying this has now been cancelled, and I will now be departing on Friday, January 24th.

“I immediately called Customer Service, who told me that they could not handle the enquiry, and I should head to the airport and be there by 1p.m. I left Lekki at 11 a.m. and headed to the airport and arrived at 1p.m., only to be informed that the office does not open until 5 a.m.

“I enquired about having my flight refunded so I could purchase another flight in the evening to get me to L.A, only to be informed the flight is non-refundable, despite this being their issue.

“I am an entrepreneur running my own business and fully responsible for these costs and being bullied by Delta Airline is beyond unacceptable. To say that I am shocked by this experience will be bogus, because this isn’t new to Delta Airlines. The fault lies with us for always turning the other cheek. The lack of fines and sanctions to these businesses permit this to continue.

“On Thursday 23rd, the 6 p.m. the flight was further delayed with no explanation as to why this was the case. While I understand that mechanical faults are inevitable, and I would rather have a flight grounded than it have issues in the air, the lack of empathy and treatment of customers by Delta Airlines is unacceptable and has got to stop,” she said.

An official of the airline in Lagos, explained that safety was the main reason for the cancellation and an alternative flight was arranged for the following day.

“Delta Atlanta flight (from Lagos) is not daily. We fly to Atlanta on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. But we had to deploy a flight for Thursday because of the customers. That was what happened,” the official said, though kept mum on the hotel episode.

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