Nigeria has just introduced what might be one of the most generous consumer protection laws for air travellers in the world after the country’s aviation minister ordered airlines to fully refund passengers for flights that are delayed by just two hours.
Hadi Sirika also laid out plans to make airlines provide delayed passengers with free phone calls, refreshments and hotel accommodation in some cases.
“Delay for two hours and beyond, the carrier shall reimburse passengers the full volume of their tickets,” Sirika told Nigeria’s legislature in Abuja on Thursday. The announcement came after it was revealed that more than half of Nigeria’s 14,662 domestic flights that operated in the first quarter of the year were delayed.
Sirika ordered airlines to provide passengers with a free phone call or SMS message on delays of up to one hour while any delays between 10pm and 4am will trigger free hotel accommodation, refreshments, two free phone calls and transport to and from the airport.
For now, the new consumer protections will only affect domestic flights and unlike similar rules in other countries like Europe’s controversial denied boarding legislation, the monetary award is directly linked to the cost of the ticket.
Earlier this year, a Nigerian court ordered Emirates to pay a businessman $1.63 million in compensation after the airline lost his luggage during a flight from Lagos to China in 2007. After a 12-year legal battle, the court ruled in favour of Orji Prince Ikem, concluding that Emirates was responsible after losing the bags – one which contained $700,000 in cash and the other that was packed with $930,000 in notes.
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Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.