Air Peace weighing scale, a rip-off!
Sir: As any air traveller knows, you always want to conform to set guidelines, for instance the standard weight policy for carry-ons (15 lb or 7 kg) and checked baggage (50 lb or 23 kg). You make sure that your weighing machine at home measures just as well as the one at the check-in counter at the airport.
My travelling colleagues (from Michigan State University) and I did exactly that on August 11, 2019. Our measurements were faithfully replicated by the Delta Airline in Detroit and Lufthansa Airline in Frankfurt, measuring roughly 46.6 lb for each of our checked in luggage and 12.7lb for our carry-ons. But as we transited Abuja Airport using Air Peace, all our luggage which absolutely had no weight added to them, suddenly weighed additional 6.3 lb (carry-on), and 6.5lb (checked baggage) respectively. This meant penalty for excess load, amounting to N10,300! When I asked why, the check-in clerk gave me a can’t-you-see look, and lazily pointing to the blinking figures on their electronic weighing scale. My eye balls almost fell off their sockets in disbelief. Worse still, my travelling colleagues protested that while I was talking with other transport agents, the staff that weighed the bags simply stacked the carry-ons on top of each other on the scale and scribbled something on a piece of paper for the clerk. Still unsure what to make of it…., anyway no arguments, I paid up.
But the worse was to come on our way back on August 18. Again, we made sure that all our bags and boxes never weighed anything close to the maximum limit for each of the weight categories. That did not stop the Air Peace weighing machine at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu: It produced excess weight figures for ALL our luggage, amounting to extortion of N15,300 additional charge. My visiting colleagues stood by watching. Again, without making a fuss of it, I simply paid up. Let’s keep in mind, all this always happened during hurried departure times engendered by long delays due to routine Air Peace late arrivals. However, at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, the weighing machine for Delta Airline vindicated us – keeping all the luggage well below the limits just as we measured them at home in Enugu earlier.
Professor Ike Iyioke.
As you would imagine, I’m sick to my stomach recalling this experience. It turns out that I’m not alone going by my anecdotal findings from a few passengers. But why is it necessary for Air Peace to manipulate their weighing machines to cheat repeatedly? Would cheating make Air Peace to tower above all airline businesses that ever existed? To quote one responder, “They will soon go down like the ones before them.” I personally won’t go that far, but what has happened to ethics of business? And if first impression matters, what image has Air Peace left in the minds of these visiting professors? Questions such as these can go on ad infinitum, but the next time we question government’s inability to create an enabling environment for tourism (or for diasporans to head home in droves), the industry must first do some soul searching. This rip off CANNOT be allowed to continue. Relevant regulatory watchdog MUST do something.
Professor Ike Iyioke.
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