Monday, May 26, 2008

Ticket Reservation in Nigeria

I chose to visit PH this weekend, PH (Port Harcourt) is one of Nigeria's oil rich region. Its a coding weekend, lots of Python code for those who know what I'm talking about.
I made a reservation, luckily I decided to call customer care of Arik air after the online booking.

Point No 1: There is no way to make a payment online, there is an option to confirm though, so I confirmed.

Then I called customer care, truly I was not too shocked to hear that all bookings will be discarded that night, at least for those of us who made online booking.

Lesson 1: Online reservation is a waste of valuable time.

I got the cue though, so I made one friend of mine (poor guy) get the ticket very early the next morning. booked me on the last flight for the day. I got to the airport late, or just on time for the flight, which is still late because there is no room for check-in.
I was told the flight was fully booked!

Lesson 2: Paying for the ticket does not guarantee you will make the flight.

I think they usually sell more tickets than there are seats. So if you don't show up you are advised to re-schedule for the next flight.
That was the last flight of the day I just missed, so no Friday night in PH for me, I did try to re-schedule though, and was asked to just "re-present" ticket the following day, and that would be all. Hmm, how sweet of Arik air, after all, the seats were fully occupied, so I don't get to pay extra, just rescheduled, fair enough.

I got there early enough the following morning, got to the front of the queue to get a boarding pass, and someone raises an alarm that it was yesterday's ticket. "Sir", she yelled, "you have to go pay N3, 000 extra".

Lesson 3: Nothing is free man, nothing! and don't trust the airlines.

And I had to wait to get to the front to know. I thought I would just add a knowlegde base article here for them, so I wrote this. And luckily, I managed to get N3k from my pockets, what if I didn't have enough money, wow. And I was running late, and the guys were rude at the payment, warned me severely too to wait for the next flight, because, he reasons correctly, I will have to pay another N3k if I miss this flight. He added something like, "And don't come back crying to me".

Finally I'm on board the first flight to PH, and got a good view of gas flaring, 2 really tall pillars of fire where two wells were being flared. It looked so cool from the sky for something that is just not good for the environment.

I will link this to postcard from Lagos, as one of the intrigues of settling down in Nigeria, after years in the Yankees (US) or Jand (UK).

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