Nigerian passengers have initiated proceedings for a class action lawsuit against Emirates airlines for discrimination based on nation of origin.
In spite of Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari negotiating agreements with the United Arab Emirates government and giving generous tax breaks and other concessions to Emirates airline and Etisalat telephone in Nigeria, Emirates airline has been reported to discriminate against Nigerian passengers, unduly extorting them and treating them with utter disdain and disregard.
In contrast to flights to other parts of the world, flights to Nigeria are slammed with undue fees for duty free baggage. Whereas when traveling anywhere else duty free purchases are added to the carry-ons for no charge, the airline slams charges on Nigerian passengers with some in recent flights being billed as much as $800 for their duty free purchases. Many passengers unwilling to pay are forced to abandon their purchases. This in spite of a notice on their website to the contrary:
The weight of each piece must not exceed 7kgkilograms (15lbpound). While duty free purchases of liquor, cigarettes and perfume in reasonable quantities are also permitted in addition to the above, exceptions apply with new liquid restrictions in place.
Additionally only Nigerian passengers of all countries of the world are disallowed from obtaining transit visas on line and have to get this through an agent while having to pay a refundable security deposit.
A passenger who recently flew Emirates gave this sorrowful account:
So I traveled with Emirate airline for the first time for my yearly winter holidays and I must confess that the experience was not pleasant in any way.
I have heard a lot of people say good things about Emirates airline but honestly I cannot see it, not with the way they treat Nigerians and what I had to go through.
Coming from New York I decided to do a two day stopover over in Dubai because I really did not enjoy the long hours associated with flying from the U.S. through that route. So I went online and did an itinerary change to accommodate my planned stopover that was the beginning of tribulation.
I thought Nigerians could apply for UAE transit visa on line just like any other nationality but my people that’s not true. I put a call through to @emirates airline U.S. office and they couldn’t provide me with any useful information.
I sent an email to @emirates airline head office and this is the reply that I got,
“Thanks for your email, kindly we are unable to confirm if you will get the visa on the arrivals or not you need to check with arrivals desk directly on Dubai airport to assist you in your query. Best Regards, Fatima Aldosari”
I replied asking for a contact to the arrival desk for me to able to get in touch and enquire about this, you should be able to guess what the reply was to me.
My host in the US who found this unbelievable, called Emirates too to inquire. They told him that a transit visa could easily be obtained at the airport. I told him to mention “Nigeria.” When he did, they said, “oh, Nigeria,” and referred him to a third party website that did not even offer service to Nigeria.
To cut a long story short, I eventually was able to secure the transit visa though a contact in the UAE that applied on my behalf. The contact had to pay a refundable deposit to be returned after I show proof of my departure from the UAE after my 2 days stopover.
So I left the UAE on the 9th of February as planned and decided to buy a few things at the duty free shop at Dubai international airport, some chocolate and nuts worth about $140 (one hundred and forty dollar).
Duty Free Carry-on Discrimination on Nigeria-Bound Flights
On getting to the boarding gate of my flight to Lagos, there was a staff of @emirates airline weighing our carry on bag, which quite honestly is normal, but you cannot imagine my shock when I was asked to add my duty free purchases to my carry on to be weighed, I duly obliged and was told that I am 5 kg over my allowed limit and I should pay $205 (two hundred and five dollar) for me to be able to take my duty free purchase with me.
I tried to argue my case that the over weight I had is from the duty free purchases and that I was well within the limits with my carry on, but all my entreaties fell on deaf ears. I told them that I was out of money and there was no way I could pay that amount and an @emirates staff who I suspect is their supervisor said I can’t go with the items, mind you this drama was going on with so many other passengers on the same flight. Eventually I was advised by one of the passenger by name “Mrs. Johnson” to return the items and get my money back, that she just did the same thing. I requested that I be given back my boarding pass so that I can go back to the cash point to returns the items, but the same @emirates staff said to me that he will close the boarding gate before I come back. So I had to leave all the items right there on the counter.
My bone of contention is this, I don’t have a problem if that is an @emirates policy for all passengers flying their airline, but it’s discriminatory if is only directed at passengers to a particular country “NIGERIA”
I travelled on the same @emirates to Milan, New York and Dubai and nothing like this happened, right beside our boarding gate another flight going to Doha was been boarded and nothing like this happened. A passenger on the same flight who was likewise stopped told them he was an American citizen. He was allowed to take his duty free extra luggage aboard with no extra charge. I sat beside him, discussed this and even got his business card.
@emirates airline is a money grabbing, discriminatory, racist airline.
Please email [email protected] to participate in the class action if you have been discriminated by Emirates airline.