Flight Delay: Nigerians Protest At Istanbul Airport

…as heavy snow disrupts schedule

…Travellers sleep on floor

 

 

 

 

Nigerian travellers to the United Kingdom have resorted to protest in Istanbul, Turkey, over their inability to proceed on the journey due to flight cancellation.

They had hoped to get to their destinations but never bargained for the fate that would befall them. The Nigerian travelers were left stranded in Istanbul as a result of heavy snow, which led to over 24 hours delay. They alleged poor service delivery by Turkish Airlines.

Some of the passengers, who spoke to Aviation Metric from Istanbul, said there was a massive protest by Nigerians inside the airport, who demanded they be lodged in hotels as demanded by law which they said the carrier failed to provide.

One of the passengers who gave her name simply as Elizabeth, said some of them, who left Nigeria via the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport on Tuesday around 7. 40 am, said several passengers from other African countries that got to Istanbul hours before them were still stranded, protesting over what they described as poor service delivery on the part of the airline.

A Sheffield-based computer engineer, Michael Ademuyiwa, narrated his ordeal, stressing: “We were shocked when we got to Istanbul from Abuja. We discovered that we could not continue our journey to London because of bad weather caused by heavy snow.

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It is frustrating not to continue your journey “We were kept waiting at the airport as the airline refused to put us in hotels as demanded by law. We consulted them, but they were not ready to assist us. Many did not know where to sleep. Many with children slept on the bare floor.

“The situation took a turn for the worse as many of the passengers staged a protest inside the terminal and around the airport. The scene was very rowdy. The slow pace at which the airline was attending to passengers was nothing to write home about.

“The truth of the matter is that it is not their fault that there was heavy snow but the manner they handled their passengers was nothing to be proud of as an international airline.”

He further stated that his flight, which was initially scheduled to depart Abuja on Monday, was shifted to Tuesday. At Abuja, they tried their best as they catered very well for their passengers but, “we had a horrible situation in Istanbul.”

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He accused the carrier of lackadaisical attitude in its home country in Turkey, stressing they ought to have made adequate arrangements for them rather than abandon them in the cold in Istanbul.

 

Turkish Airline

The law stipulates that when a flight delay occurs, passengers are entitled to assistance and a choice between rerouting, reimbursement, or rebooking or accommodated in hotels within the period of delay.

For overnight delays, the airline must provide hotel accommodation and transport to reach it – or to return home. When there’s a major disruption, airline staff may not be able to assist in booking hotels. … But a passenger should not expect a full refund for an expensive hotel unless there’s no alternative.

, According to a statement issued by the airline which was published on its website, the development at the airport was caused by severe weather conditions.

It stated, “Dear passengers, due to severe weather conditions in Istanbul, in accordance with the decisions of the authorities and for the safety of our passengers, our flights departing from Istanbul Airport will be able to operate in limited numbers using a runway that is made ready for flight operations.

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Flight cancellations in accordance with the decisions of the authorities to restrict the number of flights are also experienced for flights departing from the Sabiha Gokcen Airport. To check the current flight status of your flights from/to/via Istanbul and Sabiha Gokcen airports and find out about your rights regarding your flights, please visit the flight status page and enter your flight number.”

There has been heavy snow, which covered Istanbul since Sunday evening, snarling roads and briefly halting ship traffic through the Bosporus.

According to media reports, officials at Istanbul Airport had announced on Monday evening that flights would be suspended until early Wednesday morning due to “adverse weather and heavy snowfall.”

The suspension of flights was later extended until midnight Wednesday, as crews worked to clear what the airport said was 16 inches of accumulated snow on the runways and other parts of the airport using nearly 200 snow removal vehicles.

Wole Shadare