Be Careful With Kenyan Airways By Jideofor Adibe

I traveled to Kenya on July 14, 2016 to attend a conference in Nairobi on the intellectual legacies of the late Kenyan political scientist Ali Mazrui. From the conference I was to travel to London for a one-week holiday. The organizers of the conference understandably booked me on Kenyan Airways for the Abuja to Nairobi limb of the trip. I had no problem with that. After boarding we were delayed for over an hour. Many of us were tensed with the prolonged delay in departing and wondered whether they had detected some technical problems with the aircraft. No one said anything to us which heightened the sense of anxiety.

It was only when we got to Nairobi that we learnt that the aircraft had exceeded its luggage limit and was therefore refused departure. It eventually had to randomly take off some luggage from the aircraft – without informing the owners of the luggage – before it was allowed to depart for Nairobi.  I found out at Nairobi that my luggage was unfortunately among those randomly taken off the aircraft. Apart from the suit I wore and my laptop, every other thing I was traveling with was in the luggage that I checked in.

I lodged a complaint and after formalities and filling of some papers, I was given $100. In Kenya, the $100 could barely buy you a decent shirt and slippers.

The following day I made concerted efforts to ensure that my luggage would be returned to me as soon as possible but to no avail. On July 17, precisely the day I was to leave for United Kingdom, I got a message from Kenyan Airways telling me that they could not even locate my luggage in Abuja. I was simply pissed off.

I never heard again from Kenyan Airways until July 25, the day I was to leave UK for Nigeria. They had called to tell me that my luggage had arrived in Nairobi. I was taken aback because I had told them of my itinerary.  I asked them to return the luggage to my residence in Abuja, which they promised to do.

I never heard anything again from Kenyan Airways until about August 14, (one month after I boarded their aircraft) when I received a call from them asking me to come to the airport with my ID card to claim my luggage. I felt that was cheeky of them and insisted that they should deliver the luggage to my home. Though they eventually complied, they behaved as if they had done no wrong and saw no reason for profound apologies and compensation.

You can reach Jideofor at and follow him on Twitter @JideoforAdibe.

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