The loud scream, happy grin and outstretched hands announced the winner even before the compere did. She stood out amongst all five participants during the event at the head office of KLM Nigeria last Saturday, July 16.  From her hand gesticulations to frequent head nods, obviously keeping her emotions in check wasn’t her strong point. Meet Opara Chioma Sonia, the winner of a KLM return ticket.

Despite working online, one could feel the pressure the five participants in KLM branded t-shirts were under, such was the anxiety to win a return ticket.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Nigeria this summer created an opportunity for its followers on Facebook to visit a loved one in London without any thought of the cost of their ticket. The ticket of course is free courtesy KLM. The campaign tagged #KLMTAKEMETOLONDON ran from the 11th to the 15th of July 2016 while the grand finale took place on last Saturday in Lagos and London simultaneously.

To be part of the campaign, participants liked the KLM Facebook page “KLMNigeria” then tag a friend or family member living in London with a response expressing their wish, KLM will in turn searched for these friends or family members in London, the first person to be found wasthe winner for the day.  This exercise that ran for 5 days produced five participants belonging to five teams namely: Oyewale Oketunji in team 1; Ivan West in team 2; Tammy Warmate in team 3;Opara Chioma in team 4 and Akinyemi Oyesola Bunmi in team 5 that were the daily qualifiers. Opara, 27 years old Lenovo employee, visibly excited told members of the press: “I am excited and grateful to God for this opportunity. I have always loved KLM. Thank you KLM. You won’t believe, I fasted for this, my cousin who resides in London is getting married in August and I will be there. This is a dream come true considering the high rates of tickets presently. The first question took me forever to answer. I literally read all through the night and was frustrated it wasn’t going well, but I thank God gained speed on others. Its fun to travel with KLM, the food is nice and the seats have more legroom and are comfortable. And the stopover in Amsterdam is awesome.”

Arthur Dieffenthaler, Commercial Director, Air France KLM Nigeria and Ghana said: “KLM’s first flight ever was to London in 1920, that’s 96 years ago, and 27 years later KLM started operations to Nigeria. Hence, we have been connecting Nigeria and London for quite some time. However, more important than the flights are, the persons involved and the stories behind their journeys. What made someone take a flight on KLM from Lagos to London say 50 years ago? To visit a friend, celebrate a special occasion with family or a business opportunity. Are these reasons any different today? For us at KLM, we are happy and grateful to have so many people allowing KLM to be part of their experiences, though it might be for just a few hours in the air, that’s where these stories start.

“I feel as excited as anybody who participated today. It started well but when the game really took off, it was crazy and the winner came as a surprise to me. Everybody is a winner, that’s why the other four are going home with goodie bags. In today’s world, especially with social media like Facebook, it is much easier to stay in touch than back in 1947. However @KLM we believe nothing beats the real thing, hence what better way to bring these two together we thought.”