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Nathan Sogo: Get Paid Every Time A Nigerian Airline Delays Your Flight Without an Explanation



Air travelers in Nigeria often times have been cheated by airline operators by delays without explanation, loss of baggage and unruly behaviour from both on-ground and cabin crew members just to name a few. Most Nigerians go through these hurdles everyday without the simplest apology from the airlines.

Many airline passengers are not conscious of the fact that they can be helped by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) when airlines infringe on their rights especially issues regarding delayed flights.

For a passenger who has booked a flight departing and landing within the domestic territory of Nigeria and has confirmed reservation on the flight and also check in at the scheduled time or no later than 1 hour before departure time is protected by Part 19 of the NCAA Consumer Protection Regulations which provides for Passengers’ Rights and Responsibilities and Airlines’ Obligations to Passengers. It addresses consumer protection issues, including, compensation for denied boarding, delays and cancellations of flights.

For domestic flights, when an operating air carrier reasonably expects a flight to be delayed beyond its scheduled time of departure, it shall provide the passengers with reason(s) for the delay within 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time and the assistance of:

(i)      After two hours, refreshments such as water, soft drinks, confectioneries / snacks and access to telephone calls, SMS and E-mails.

(ii)     Beyond two hours, immediate reimbursement of flight fare in cash.

(iii)  Between the hours of 10pm till 4am, or at a time when the airport is closed at the point of departure or final destination, the assistance of a meal, hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and place of accommodation (hotel or other accommodation) must be provided.

Aside the immediate reimbursement in cash, the passenger can claim from 25% of the flight fare as compensation.

Complaint Procedure
Every airline shall have a designated officer for the purpose of receiving and resolving complaints from its passengers. Such designated officers may liaise with the Authority where necessary.

A Passenger may make a complaint with the Authority against an airline in relation to the breach of air passenger rights as provided in the Regulations by filling and submitting a Complaint Form(available online and at all airports), after the consumer must have notified the air carrier of such a breach and the complaint remains unresolved.

A complaint shall be made in writing or electronically and transmitted to the Authority.

Every complaint shall be accompanied by:

(i)      A copy of the airline ticket (where applicable);

(ii)     A copy of the letter to the air carrier stating a claim for breach of air passenger rights;

(iii)    Any response or responses or correspondence thereto;

(iv)    Any other relevant document(s).

If the Consumer Protection Directorate of the NCAA rejects your review, you may refer the matter to the Consumer Protection Council (CPC). Finally, if the CPC fails to uphold your complaint, you may take the matter to Federal High court.

The airlines and operators have responsibilities to make sure that the service they provide is of quality. When next your flight is delayed simply smile back to the bank, it is very easy.

Sogo Akinola Nathan is a young commercial lawyer at Gbenga Biobaku and co. He specializes in Taxation,oil and gas law and intellectual property. He is a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University and the Nigerian Law School. He is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association and a member of the Young International Arbitration Group and also an intending associate member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.