So I am currently in the UK at the moment, primarily to attend the Ghana UK-Based Achievements (GUBA) Awards holding in London on Saturday, November 16. My trip has been very eventful and nothing short of ‘amazing’. My Arik Air flight connects via Lagos so I left home around 6am in order to make my 8:30am flight. I finished checking in around 7.30 and headed to Boarding Gate 3 to wait for the flight. I was joined my friends Francis, Manuella and Lydia Forson who were all heading to Lagos for separate businesses.
After waiting for some time, we were soon told that the plane coming from Lagos had been called off due to a technical fault and another one had been rescheduled for Accra. I started to fret because I knew any delay could affect my connecting flight to London, and I wasn’t prepared to face any uncertainties in Nigeria (After all, I know how it feels like to miss a flight in Lagos). I was however assured that the new plane would make it well in time for me to embark on my London flight.
We waited some more, we chatted some more and I worried some more until the plane finally arrived some two hours late. Well, a sigh of relief only for the moment! We boarded our flight and I sat next to my sweetheart, Lydia Forson, chatting the 45 minutes away and trying to ease my mind. Will I miss my flight? Will I be rebooked for the next flight? Where would I stay? These were questions that ran through my mind; and fortunately when I touched down, an Arik Air staff member was at the tunnel waiting for me. By the way, I wonder why Nigerians keep expecting DEBRAH to be a female. Anyway, he rushed me into the waiting plane where they later brought me my boarding pass. While waiting, I was seated in the business class and in my head I thought my original economy seat had been upgraded to business class. So I prepped myself to enjoy the treatment but when my pass came in, I was shown to my seat; and sadly it was still economy. Lol!!!
This was the first time I was ever travelling to London outside of Kotoka International Airport and wow, using Lagos was surely a way to start. Hmm Nigerians! I was seated in front of an old woman who perhaps felt she was in her living room and I was her grandson. She moved from her original seat to occupy the seat behind me because her monitor wasn’t working and she couldn’t watch her TV, as she called it. And when she sat behind me, she didn’t want me to adjust my seat backwards. Initially, she asked me to move forward and I politely did. As the journey continued and got a stiff neck, I decided to move the neck rest back again. She didn’t complain till the hot meal arrived when she rudely exclaimed that she had unlocked her tray, so I should move forward (by this time I was losing my cool). I moved the seat forward because it only made sense and I was going to eat my meal anyway. I also noticed that a British guy who was seated next to her, didn’t eat his slice of apricot tart and she wanted it. So she cleverly told the guy to eat it because it was really nice (in a cute granny voice) but the young man said he was alright and so passed on his dessert to the woman who shamelessly took it and ate it. LOL… Nawa oh!!!
Later I decided to adjust the seat backwards again and I intentionally made her aware. She said to me that, what I was doing was wrong. And I politely smiled and I told her that I was right because the seats were made adjustable for that purpose. She then hit me with a lame excuse that the seats are meant to be adjusted back only at night time. I shook my head and went on to adjust it so I could enjoy some little comfort on the journey that seemed to be taking forever. She angrily asked “so what we do if we want to use the toilet” and I replied that she should just let me know and I would move my seat forward.
I rested a bit and not long, I felt a tap on my head. I turned around and she asked me to move my seat forward because the guy next to her wanted to use the lavatory. When the guy returned from the lavatory, he decided to move to a vacant seat perhaps to avoid the idiosyncrasies of the woman (including laughing and talking to herself when watching her movie). She then moved to occupy the guy’s seat but not before telling me in sarcastic tone that “I am moving to the next seat so you can come back if you want”! Well, I did just that.
As the journey continued, there was more drama to come. I suddenly heard some noise from the back cabin with one flight attendant screaming ‘don’t touch me’. Initially I thought it was an argument between two of the flight attendants and so I said in my head ‘only in naija’. The noise intensified and suddenly a passenger emerged from the cabin to take his seat. One of the male flight attendant went to the cabin and returned to query the passenger who had just sat down. Apparently the man who had taken several cans of beer had heckled and poured out some beer onto a female flight attendant because she refused to hand him some more beer. The male flight attendant then admonished the man for his actions and took away the remainder of his beer because he had already consumed more than enough. The man then went into a fit and grabbed any bottle or cup he could find and poured out their content into the plane. The behavior startled everyone and gave us something to talk about until we finally got to Heathrow Airport.
After landing we were asked to remain seated and when the doors were finally opened, two airport policemen came in to obviously pick up the man. Hmm, but it was not without some struggle. In true ‘naija no dey carry last’ spirit, the man resisted and struggled with the police until he was advised by some passengers to just give in. The police detained him in the plane and asked the other passengers to disembark.
Well, I turned on my phones and made my way to immigrations. I wanted to get the correct address of my host for immigration purposes but my Airtel number from Ghana would not work. Fortunately we were given free LycaMobile SIM cards with £2 worth of call time on it. So I slotted in the card to call Chris for the address. I cleared the immigration procedure and made my way to the carousel to pick my luggage. Hmm, I waited and waited till only a few bags kept coming back in circles and as much as I hoped my bag would pop up, it just didn’t happen. So I headed towards the baggage claim center along with a few other people who had missing bags to go and file a complaint. I was asked for the tag number on my bag but I explained that since I was rushed into the plane in Lagos, I was never given a tag although I was assured my bag was going to be transferred into the plane. Now we didn’t know whether my bag was left in Lagos or it made it to Heathrow and another passenger had picked it up. There were more questions than answers and the result was more stress and tiredness on my body.
After completing my complaint form I was told that if the bag pops up I would be contacted and the bag would be delivered to my address. So I headed to the tube station where I usually use the underground to King’s Cross before connecting to Luton. But there was more wahala; I was told there was some work on the underground and some lines had been closed. So I asked for the best route to Luton and I was advised to use the Heathrow Express to Paddington and then connect to King’s Cross via Hammersmith and City Line. It was more expensive than the usual route but all I wanted to do was get home and have some rest.
When I got to Luton, Chris came to pick me up and we made a stop at Dixy’s to grab my favorite hot wings before heading to the apartment. When we got home I ate and took some hot shower to calm me down. With all my personal stuff lost with my bag, I had to wear the same clothes to sleep. The following morning I had to go to the mall to buy some clothes that I can wear while I wait for news on my luggage. Well, I am still waiting….
Hurrah! I got my luggage back!!!!
So on Wednesday morning I decided to call the baggage claims center for an update on my situation and fortunately, I was given good news that had me smiling all day long as I told worried friends and family that I have my bag back.
I was told that the bag had arrived and a delivery company would bring it to me in Luton. I was given a contact number to call but I was so happy I didn’t even call them. In the afternoon I received a call from the delivery company that they would get to my address by 2 pm. Needless to say, I forwent my afternoon nap and waited for them so I wouldn’t miss the chance.
Soon there was a knock on the door and like a child waiting for his Xmas gifts, my heart jumped with excitement because I could hear the rollers on my bag as it was being dragged along. I opened the door with my happy face and collected the forms to sign. Hmm I was so excited that I took away the guy’s pen away. He called me back for his pen and politely said, ” that’s the only pen i have and i have a couple more of deliveries to make. Haha!!! ” Happy endings, I love happy endings but I love even more, a system that works.
I wonder how this story would have ended if this happened in Ghana. Anyway, I would have snapped a photo of the bag but it’s not a fancy Samsonite, Gucci or Louis Vuitton so enjoy the photo of my happy face