Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ethiopian Airlines Dragged to Consumer Protection Council Over Poor Service Delivery

Nigeria’s Consumer Protection Council has requested Ethiopian Airlines to urgently investigate reports of poor service delivery by the airline on an Abuja-Addis Ababa flight on May 18, 2013, and report back to it.  
In the letter dated June 3, 2013, and signed by R. O. Ogundipe (Mrs), Director Surveillance & Enforcement, the Council drew attention to complaints from several Business class passengers about frustrating slow check in process service on Flight ET 910 operated, which took an average of 20 minutes per passenger, and rudeness about it by the male supervisor who met complaints with a wave of the hand.
“When accosted about his insolent attitude by the Director - General of the Council, Mrs Dupe Atokiwho was one of the passengers on the queue, he became confrontational, recalcitrant, and impenitent,” the letter said. “He dismissed the DG’s threat to file a complaint and in his words - “you can write whatever you please.”

Perhaps unknown to the supervisor, the Business Class passengers included Mr. and Mrs, Suraj Yakubu former Executive Secretary of Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Ambassador, Prof OkonEdet Uya Former chairman National Electoral Commission and Member, African Union Panel of Eminent Person (APRM), Stephen Danyo of the World Bank and Gary Offner from the USA.
The Council disclosed that the weighing scale at the check-in counter was reported to be faulty, with the consequence that both Business and Economy passengers were forced to queue on the same long line at a different location without a separate line for the Business class passengers. Following that gruesome process, passengers were boarded without regard to their class of tickets, contrary to international best practices thus generating a rowdy process.
“While the Council notes that ET is one of the oldest African airlines with record of international best practices displayed in other routes, it is concerned about its poor service delivery as recorded above which is notoriously Nigerian specific. The conduct of the male supervisor (whose picture is in the procession of the DG) was not only rude, arrogant but outright unprofessional. It is trite that First or Business class tickets attract a premium payment with corresponding rights to fast track process and optimum comfort, a violation of which is contrary to ET’s contractual obligation under IATA and international best practice,” the letter added.
Reminding Ethiopian Airlines of its obligation to comply with all relevant National laws in the country of its operation, and citing its mandate under Art 2(A) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1992, the Council also asked the Airline to ensure that its staff display expected courtesy and professionalism in their duty both in the normal course and during crisis situations.
It further recommended to the airline, training of all staff on acceptable service delivery in line with the contractual obligations of the airline and international best practices, and to ensure that its boarding process recognizes the various classes of passengers with the priority attendant to each category.
The Council said it “will carry out monitoring visits to assess the implementation of these recommendations,” and called on “Ethiopian Airlines to ensure proper service delivery to ALL passengers in line with their obligation under the IATA.”
The Consumer Protection Council is a parastatal of the Federal Government of Nigeria established by the Consumer Protection Act 1992 and mandated to, amongst others, protect the rights of consumers of goods and services and ensure speedy remedies for violations of such rights.