Ibom flight returns to apron…


I’m Air


By Fred Chukwuelobe

You may think the aircraft, a Bombardier CRJ900 with registration number 5N-BXP, developed a technical fault. No it didn’t. It was forced to return to the apron after the pilot, Captain Saror, had positioned the aircraft preparatory to take off, but had to abort it and return to the parking lot because of an unruly passenger sitting on seat number 1A.

The Akwa-Ibom based airline, operators of Ibom Air, is noted for prompt departures and arrivals. The scheduled flight Q10601 from Akanu Ibaim International Airport, Enugu, was headed for Muritala Muhammad Airport 2, Ikeja, and was unusually five minutes late when the drama began.

The flight filled to capacity was scheduled to depart at 12:30pm, but instead started taxing by 12:35pm. Unusual for the Akwa-Ibom airliner.

‘Kini big deal’, our Yoruba brothers will ask. Afterall it didn’t delay that much and neither was the flight cancelled.

Okay. What is your story?

A man in his late 50s refused to put on his facemask as required by law. Repeatedly, the lead purser pleaded with him to obey simple instruction. Repeatedly he refused. The crew reported him to Captain Saror who was in command and the captain came on the public address system and politely asked all passengers to comply with crew instructions. He first updated passengers on the height, speed, weather and expected time of arrival.
He then appealed to passengers to obey the instruction from the crew and put on their facemasks “because it is for your safety and that of other passengers”. Yet, our co-passenger with a bloated ego will not budge.

The lead purser approached him a third time, pleading with him to “put on your face mask”. He roared like a wild lion: “Get out of here before I slap you”!

The crew had no option than to report him again to Captain Saror who now announced to the passengers that he was returning to the apron to ‘offload’ our friend with a big ego.

While the captain was returning the aircraft to the apron, ‘our friend’ started explaining to whoever cared to listen why he refused to wear his facemask, which he had with him.

Who sii! As Chief Zebrudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo, alias 4:30 of the rested famous television comedy series, The New Masquerade, will say.

The passengers rose in unison and demanded that he kept his ‘tales by the moonlight’ to himself. While the crew searched for his luggage, many passengers asked the pilot to fly with it to Lagos and offload it for the next aircraft returning to Enugu.

Security men were then invited and they escorted ‘our friend’ out of the plane to some sort of applause from some of the passengers.

He followed the security men and was walking like a dog wagging its tail after it was beaten by a much stronger dog.

Talk about excoriation and you would understand how shamed this guy was. How I wish he would have a chance to go to anger management course and save himself such opprobrium in future.

Anyway, the flight took off and flew smoothly and landed 28 minutes late.

Who cared?

The passengers were happy he was shamed and offloaded and many passengers insisted that, even if the pilot had agreed to forgive him, which he couldn’t under aviation regulations, they would insist on his disembarking to avoid ‘something happening midair’.

Talk about indiscipline, this guy is a good example. Terrible behaviour.