In-bound Nigerian air travelers returning home to celebrate the yuletide with their loved ones are having difficulty in travelling with their luggage, as foreign airline now imposes outrageous charges on excess luggage and also delay connecting flight time with passengers that have many bags.
THISDAY learnt that passengers with many bags above the accepted kilogrammes by airlines are asked to delay their connecting flights to between three to four hours so that the airlines would be able to transfer the luggage to the flights that would bring them to the airlines’ operational hubs where they would connect their last flight to Nigeria.
“For example, British Airways, Turkish Airlines or Emirates or any other airline, which connect flights many times a day from Jarkata, Indonesia or from Milan to Istanbul or Dubai or London would not connect a Nigerian passenger within two hours window or less because it would take time to transfer his luggage.
“So they will extend his connecting flight to ensure that they also move his luggage with him to his final destination in Nigeria,” an airline commercial officer who did not want his name in print, told THISDAY.
THISDAY also learnt many foreign airlines have put higher price tag on excess luggage on their Nigerian destinations because Nigerians are known globally to travel with heavy luggage.
“Airlines have the right to determine whether your luggage should go to cargo when they are too many and how many bags that could be allowed on a flight. They try to discourage Nigerian passengers by hiking the charges on excess luggage. Some pay but some others beg and when you tell them to reduce the content of their luggage; they will tell you that they cannot afford to leave anything behind.
“Some Nigerian travelers go with as much as 10 to 12 bags, but some airlines insist that you have to put them to cargo so that they will be brought in with cargo flight,” the airline official explained.
In his reaction, the Director of Consumer Protection, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Adamu Abdullahi, acknowledged that Nigerians travel heavier than most other passengers all over the world.
“It is a Nigerian that you will see with 20 pieces of baggage and he is ready to part with whatever excess baggage charge you will collect from him in as much as you will allow him to come along with his baggage.
“Most times that is not possible because there are weights as well as space constraints. Some airlines fly into Nigeria with smaller aircraft, so the flights may not carry all the baggage the Nigerian wants to come along with. So, most of the baggage are left behind,” he said.
Before the Turkish Airlines imbroglio with NCAA, Abdullahi had envisaged it because of the peculiar problem of moving luggage to Nigeria by foreign carriers.
He told THISDAY early this month that Turkish Airline, which airlift many Nigerian travelers from Asia, would have problems moving travelers’ luggage, which later caused problem between NCAA and the airline.
“We wanted to make sure the luggage arrived as soon as possible. And then mitigate future occurrence because the way we are going we are going to have issues at Christmas. And that Christmas issue is something that we don’t want to even dream about because it is really bad for my officers. In waiting to get their luggage, some passenger stay back at the airport,” Abdullahi said.
British Airways Country General Manager, West Africa, Kola Olayinka, said, according to the airline’s policy, it does not discourage its passengers from carrying many luggage.
“We do not discourage anyone from carrying bags. This is a festive season; we encourage our passengers to carry as much as they can; so that they can get all the gifts for families and friends. If they exceed permissible travel limits, they can always pay for excess baggage charges and get all their bags home. As an airline, it is our responsibility to get all bags home with our passengers,” he said.