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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How I Was Robbed In An Airplane; Passenger Recounts Midair Bitter Experience


I had travelled from Lagos to Port-Harcourt
on Saturday, March, 10 2012, by 7.45a.m, in
one of Nigeria’s airlines (name withheld by
Daily Sun). The flight was smooth. When we
touched down, an elderly man was
complaining that his hand luggage had
been swapped with another bag. I just
laughed inside me, thinking that the man
was not smart. I left the airport for the
ceremony I went to attend in the Garden
City.

I never knew it would be my turn to lament.
As I opened my bag to bring out a bundle
of N200 naira notes during the ceremony, I
discovered that it had vanished. Evaporated
into the thin air. The thing looked like
cinema. I emptied my bag, searched and
searched but the bundle of money was
gone. It then dawned on me that the same
fate that befell the man I disdained in the
aircraft had befallen me. Thankfully, I had
my ATM card, which I used to withdraw
money.

I returned to Lagos the next day with the
same airline, and after the plane had gained
stability in the air, I asked to speak to the
most senior air host. I gave my complaints,
telling him it was informal, but just for his
information.

They (two other crew members came to the
back of the plane, beside the restroom)
listened attentively to my story and
sympathized deeply with me. But they gave
me a rude shock when they said such
happening was no longer new. According to
them, it happens from Lagos to Port
Harcourt, Lagos to Abuja, Lagos to Dubai,
Lagos to UK and Lagos to USA. Bags have
been missing in the past, with more than
half a million naira gone; dollars have
disappeared along international routes.

They further explained that once a traveller
passes through screening at the airport,
everything in the bag is known and the
cartel will put one of their agents on board
to carry out the ‘business.’ I asked them to
make a move to stop the evil, but they just
laughed and said the cartel was powerful.
I suppose people should not carry money in
a bag when travelling by air. If you must
carry cash or other valuables, maintain eye
contact throughout the duration of the
flight (no sleeping, or napping, no dulling).

Once, the plane taxis to a stop, grab your
luggage at once, else someone will block
your view while you are seated and the
other agent will carry out the ‘business.’
My wife is still lamenting that the missing
money could have made some difference in
the kitchen. Please alert air travellers to be
vigilant about their valuables. We are really
living in perilous times.

*The name of the reader who sent in this
piece has been deliberately withheld.

-Dailysun

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