Sunday, June 8, 2014

Arik Air bridges Accra and Abuja

Last month, I flew to Abuja for the first time. I'd always wanted to visit Abuja to see what a 'planned city' in Africa looked like. When I knew that the +World Economic Forum event in Africa for 2014 would be held in Abuja, Nigeria, I knew this was my chance to visit the Nigerian capital. As the time for SHAPE Africa drew closer, I was wary that I might not attend because of the attendant flight costs. +Arik Air came to save the day, pretty much. Details about that would come in a later post. Arik Air things :-)
We all have bad customer service days. The same can't be said of May 3, 2014 with the +Arik Air employees at the Kotoka airport. First, I got to use their PC to share my excitement at finally flying to Abuja. I was flying with fellow +Global Shapers Accra members +Donald Ward +Emmanuel A. Gamor and +Yawa Hansen-Quao. We were being sponsored by Arik and only had to pay taxes which amounted to a very manageable amount. Though we had a few issues with our tickets, the Arik Air folks at Kotoka were so calm, collected and helpful and sorted us out. We were #SHAPEAfrica bound!
So we had very happy faces by the time we boarded the Arik flight. Not quite sure we didn't take a selfie here.
Donald wasn't sitting with the three of us but he was equally happy. He was sitting next to a lady who'd recognized my +Harvard University African Business Conference t-shirt from this year. Arik sponsored that conference and gave me a discount on my ticket as I was a panelist at the #HBSABC.
This is pretty major and can't be discounted. The Abuja airport looked really nice too, definitely better than the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos. This was a great image showing all the places Arik flies to around Nigeria and around West Africa. We need a great West African airline and Arik is on its way to that. It comes with growing pains but I believe they and their customers will be better of for it. It needs to happen fast though.
I flew Arik from Accra to New York through Lagos earlier in March for the Africa Business Conference. I paid more than $1000 even after a discount. This was after taxes. But you can get a better deal. The tweet above is evidence.
We surely had a smooth flight returning to Accra as the one we took to Abuja. We didn't get the perks of the previous flight. But that's a story for another day :-)
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