I love to watch the Calabar Carnival Street Party, so I always make my flight reservations early. It was time to travel this December, so I headed to the airport, checked in and received my boarding pass with seat number 4C clearly printed. The delayed departure was finally announced. I joined other passengers in the transit bus to the waiting airplane.
A female flight attendant welcomed passengers into the plane. She took a look at my boarding card and said: “4C, aisle seat to your right.” I was about to stow my hand luggage on the overhead locker, when another female attendant quickly walked up to me. “Madam, I am sorry we cannot allow you to put your hand luggage there, it is reserved for business class passengers.” That didn’t make any sense because 4C was not within the business class designated area. It was within the economy class cabin. Before I knew it, she took my bag to the middle of the aircraft and shoved it on the overhead compartment above row 16 seats. I imagined how inconveniencing it would be to pick up my bag on arrival because some passengers are very impatient and often rush to the front of the airplane in a hurry to disembark. They almost always ignore announcements to remain seated until the airplane engine is turned off.
I remained calm but determined to guide the attendants on how to manage their customers in situations like this. The passenger with seat number 4A, next to mine, came on board. He tried to stow his bag on the overhead hold but was equally treated harshly. His luggage was taken to the compartment at the tail end of the aircraft. He screamed severally at the attendant but was ignored. Infact, she moved away from us and joined her colleague who was welcoming passengers at the entrance door.
I could see and observe both of them from my seat. Still boarding, another passenger came in. He was very fair in complexion with an Asian accent. He walked straight to my seat, opened the compartment above me and put his luggage. The attendants saw him and looked the other way. At that point, I asked him to show his seat number. It was 9C. I said, “please take your luggage to 9C. This hold is for the seats 4A, 4B and 4C. He said, “that’s what they always do.” Without saying a word, I retrieved my luggage from where the attendant put it and placed it by my seat.
At this point, the door of the aircraft was about to be closed. We would soon taxi for take-off. The two female attendants came to me: “Madam, we cannot fly with your luggage blocking the walkway.” I said: “please speak to the pilot about this situation since you cannot resolve it.” And they did.
The co- pilot came out from the cockpit, picked up my bag, searched for a free space, found one at 1C and stowed it there. The attendants retrieved the luggage of the passenger next to me and stowed it on the untouchable 4C overhead locker. All the passengers applauded the co-pilot for his timely intervention and resolution of the problem. The passengers booed at the flight attendants. Their ego was visibly deflated. Should this have happened in the first place? What are your views on the poor service and lack of empathy exhibited by the flight attendants of Air Peace? Have you experienced anything like this before? Kindly share.