Ibom Air: A Night Of Different Offerings

By Frank Meke.

Ibom Air used to be one of my best options in the bucket list of local carriers in Nigeria. Not so again. . Recently, the airline gave me a cold shoulder on a flight from Abuja to lagos during those mad days of aviation fuel issues, and I held my peace.

Please don’t ask me if I divorced this airline, which I considered as an admirable, beautiful lady in the air. As a frequent traveller and flyer, my hard-core travel plan etho is to avoid any airline that will give me headache ” on top of my money.”

Just months ago, and on one of those my shuttles to calabar, one other airline denied me peace, and I went to Ibom Air for a rescue. It was, as usual, the Ibom Air style, comfortable, sensitive, and timely.

I was still beefing on that Abuja fiasco, and I believe when you love something, someone and you feel disappointed, letting go is another story, particularly when you don’t get a simple heartwarming apology.

It is not only Ibom Air that does not give a face to apology. Other airlines in Nigeria are guilty and terribly so. Indeed, there is a huge gap and disconnect between passengers and airlines in Nigeria, a sociological issue that needs to be addressed.

I believe that an airline, a city, a hospitality outfit, and the entire chain of the logistics and recreation ecosystem of the tourism sector should have a human face, interactive, and jealously concerned of consumers.

I have learnt a lot from my resource facilitator, Justina ovat, who does hospitality nuggets on creative Nigeria, a focal cultural tourism programme on Mainland Radio 98.3 FM, lagos and I think the human face factor as against the plastic experience and relationship trolling across Nigeria’ service economy must be addressed.

Anyway, so where are we on this beat? Ibom Air got close to adding value to its image as a travel facility company when it hosted us to a sumptuous dinner in UYO, to welcome tourism operators under the auspices of Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria ( ftan), Tuesday night as pre World Tourism Day celebrations outing.

Let me again confess that I reconnected to the airline again right from the check-in process to boarding formalities. Black Coffee, the type we describe as ” conk,” no sugar, no cream, makes my day, and with sizzling hot cup of this black beverage, I had approached Ibom Air counter for pre boarding checks and was with human face, advised to stand aside with my friend, Gani Tarzan Balogun, to be “calming” down over our black coffee.

It was soothing, particularly what appeared as well thought out caregiver interactions oxygenated by Ibom staff at lagos Domestic Airport.

On board, the pilot’s sonorous voice ( I wonder why plots speak the same way) waffted through flight details and weather reports. The mangrove and rash of river paths landscape on Akwa Ibom state as we approached our destination is surrealistic.

So, at the dinner put together for us at monty Suite, the food story began. I am the impatient type when food is on the table, begging to be sampled, so I was praying that Nkereweum Onung, President of ftan, will haste the introduction process and let us do justice to the well laid out table, showcasing of the best of Akwa Ibom state.

Anniekan Essenette, Ibom Air Director of Corporate Communications, tall and beautifully clad, made this night of Ibom hospitality so tempting.

It was a full house, and before the road to the table got clogged, I did take some photo shoot as evidence that Ibom Air and I had made up over dinner.

So let those who want me to remain angry with Ibom Air be advised that we have made up. There are a few things that thrill me about Akwa Ibom, a state so dear to my heart, so engaging and with a culturally proud people.

Those? It’s rivers and mangroves, diverse food ecosystems ( the soups, makes me crazy), and the people, yes, the people, so hospitable and caring.

When I was young, Akwa Ibom was the melting pot of beautiful ladies. End of story, bye.

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