KENYA AIRWAYS; DISSIMULATION OVER PROPER PROFFER OF SERVICE.
The Xmas was exciting no two ways about it but unfortunately 31st December which is the climax to new year was nothing to write home about thanks to Kenya Airways. I was scheduled to leave UAE on the 30th at 2 am and well the Ghanaian in me couldn’t help but get excited to at least get down on some banku and munch into it. I arrived at the airport at 11.50pm only to be informed that the flight has been cancelled. I needed answers because an earlier communication via emails could have saved me and others the stress of checking out and coming all the way from our hotels with our big and heavy luggage. At 12.30am a lady called Romanour (don’t even know if the spelling of her name is right as it sounds like a Roman) came to tell us that all flights have been cancelled in UAE due to the fog and this was not from Kenya but the UAE authorities. The explanation wasn’t going well and trust me, IT DIDN’T MAKE SENSE as we saw a lot of travellers on other airlines in a comfortable zone with no furious look. With my curious mind, i approached a worker at the UAE and asked him why they have cancelled all flights. The man looked at me in shock, laughed and said “my dear we haven’t, all the airlines are operating except Kenya airways, they have cancelled their flights”, at this point I was so disappointed at the fact that they lied to our faces and tried to play on our intelligence. I then went back to the lady (Romanour) with my colleagues to ask for accommodation since we were already tired, to our utter dismay, she asked us to check in and sleep at the “TERMINAL” where she will Provide us with coffee. Hmmmm that is insulting and unprecedented right? We refused and demanded that the airline provides accommodation but they were not ready to do so and I even got more irked when she blurted out the nonsense of “we are all Africans so we should understand” Hello! We are Africans so we should accept every idiocy thrown to our faces, we are Africans so we should let things be , we are Africans so we shouldn’t complain when things are not being done the right way? What is wrong with my fellow black comrades? We perceive or project that by 2030 the African continent will be one of the better places to live yet we are not ready to change our attitude and make Africa the continent we want to see. Our way of thinking is sickening and disheartening likewise the way we act which is so abysmal. My colleagues and I managed to get back to our previous hotel to grab some rest and freshen up for the flight which was scheduled for 1.30pm on 30th December. I got to the airport at 11.15am on 30th December, went through security check Point and finally to the terminal and relaxed for the flight at 1.30pm. Around 1.15pm they delayed the flight again to 2.45pm; I decided to keep calm since the time difference wasn’t much. At 2.45pm we set off to Kenya where according to Romanour our grievances will be addressed and Kenya airways will get us on a flight back home on 31st December 2016. Well, I thought this wasn’t bad as I will be able to get home in the morning and then get ready for church service in the evening and have an amazing time with the family on 1st January 2017. We got to Kenya Airways and went to the KAA information desk to ask for accommodation since it was 8pm and we can’t sleep in the airport again for 12 hours. The lady at the desk told us that “there was no accommodation and it’s only for those travelling business class ,thus we need to stay at the airport, secondly, the flight is scheduled for 1st January 2017″. At this point, I couldn’t hold my anger and frustration any longer. You cancel flights without prior notice to passengers and you have the audacity to give us this inhumane treatment, I thought. Where are we going as Africans. Well, we were not ready to settle for that, it’s now or never. A wise man once said “we need to have the willing heart to make a change and have the self-defiance to change the culture which we have accustomed ourselves to simply because everyone is doing it”.
We are often seen to be oddly ambivalent in our acts, attitudes and sense of reasoning yet we do not draw proper curtains on our uncertainties as where we want to go as Africans. We were later lodged at Weston hotel around 3am and for two days where according to Amos (kenya airways manager) we will be provided with food but he never mentioned there will be no water if you are given a juice until we got to the hotel (funny , I know). To Kenya Airways, they were doing us a favour, but to me, It’s their duty as an airline who do not have proper managerial and planning structure. On 31st , my colleagues and I decided to climax the 2016 and birth 2017 with some fun as we had no choice than to celebrate the eve away from home. Just when we were about to forget all about the putrid airline, we met some agitated passengers from a bus with same story. They had been in Kenya for three days and just when they thought they were going home, the flight has been rescheduled by the airline for God knows when. These passengers were just among few of those that have been left stranded in Kenya and at the airport for days with no concrete or important reason from the airline aside sheer lies and deceit. People had no money on them to even buy new clothes and the airline were least perturbed about it. On 1st January 2017 at 5am, with Jaded looks ,we gathered at the hotel lobby with hope to get home. The bus was to pick us at 5am and we stayed at the lobby cold and sleepy for an hour before finally a Kenyan “trotro” came to pick us. We got to the airport and the first thing we did was to check if the flight was scheduled to take off and indeed it was; how lucky, I thought. After going through immigration and security checks, I made my way to gate 20A where Ghanaian passengers were to depart. On my way I saw lots of people sleeping on the floors and in the chairs and oh!yes they were all stranded passengers who I guessed have comfortable beds and good food to feed with no conditions accrue at their various destinations or abode. At 8.45am we were called to board; what a relieve. We entered the craft and it looked like the craft of my dad’s age (well I don’t have a Ghana airline, so I reserve my comments there). At 11.00am my motherland time, I arrived at the dry weather in Ghana. Home sweet home , couldn’t wait to cool my head of all the hullabaloo moments and “wahala ” from Kenya airways. My colleagues and I made our way straight to the belt for our luggage and to our utter dismay our bags had been broken into. Padlocks and string tights have been broken with items stolen from the bag. I wasn’t left out, my perfumes were stolen and things scattered in my bag, others had lost their watches, credit cards, monies they hid beneath their bags and worst of all people didn’t even get to see their bags. We made our way to the information desk at the “KOTOKA” international airport to lodge a complain. Upon arriving, the attendant was not different from a class two teacher who is only focused on nothing but questions he already have answers to. We were given a report note and asked to go to Kenya Airways office with it. Others were told to forget about it since they were not supposed to check such items in their bags (that is gibberish because my bag is my private property and I can check in whatever I want, do I have to carry it like a makola trader to show everyone? Plus as an airline, passengers security is supposed to be very key in their operations ). I took the paper and made my way home likewise the disappointed passengers who were affected. Kenya airways is not only good in telling stories and lies but good at ensuring that their passengers have the worst time of travel experience with them. I took the chance to tell couple of people about this and they seem to have been in the same issue with them before. So unproductive, unplanned and perilous. My experience with Kenya airways likewise others has been nothing to write home about. For me and many victims , Kenya airways is the last airline to cross my mind whenever I think of travelling abroad because I cannot substantiate my safety and can’t entertain their dubious services.
By; Juana A. Boateng