Nigeria Looks To Introduce Generous Mandated Delay Compensation

The Nigerian government announced plans to introduce new regulations regarding delay compensation earlier this week. The new system will see passengers entitled to refreshments after an hour’s delay, and a full refund after two hours. Overnight delays will also see hotel accommodation provided. Let’s take a closer look at the new system.

Lagos Airport Getty
Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport is a key domestic hub for Nigeria. Going forward, such flights will have generous delay compensation policies. Photo: Getty Images

Generous new rules

Hadi Sirika, Nigeria‘s Minister for Aviation, laid out the new regulations for delay compensation concerning domestic flights in the country on Thursday. Speaking at the weekly State House Briefing in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, he encouraged passengers to remind airlines of their rights, rather than let themselves be ‘trampled upon’ during delays.

According to Nigerian newspaper The Punch, domestic travel in the country has recently gained a bad reputation for a lack of punctuality. Airlines have cited rising fuel costs and a lack of parking space for the delays, but Sirika now wants them to be held accountable for such holdups on domestic services. He explained that:

On domestic flights delayed beyond one hour, carriers should provide refreshment, and should send you an SMS or email or call you to say ‘I am sorry, I am delaying for one hour.’ [For a] delay of two hours and beyond, the carrier shall reimburse passengers the full volume of their tickets.”

Arik Air Boeing 737
Arik Air operates a considerable Nigerian domestic network. Photo: Maarten Visser via Flickr

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A bed for the night

All in all, Nigeria’s new compensation system is a rather generous one in terms of what passengers get and after a relatively short period of time. Of course, the fact that it concerns domestic flights is a key factor. After all, for these shorter journeys, a two-hour delay will generally be longer than the flight itself.

However, passengers on international flights are also entitled to further compensation under the new system if their delay forces an overnight stay. Sirika adds that:

[For] delays between 10 pm and 4 am, carriers shall provide hotel accommodation, refreshment, a meal, two free calls, SMS, email, and transport to and from the airport.”

Nigeria Looks To Introduce Generous Mandated Delay Compensation
BA’s seven-weekly Heathrow-Lagos flights are the joint-most frequent long-haul services to and from Nigeria, along with Delta’s Atlanta-Lagos route. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Compensation alteration in the US

Interestingly enough, Nigeria is not the only country to have recently put forward plans to overhaul its compensation systems for airline passengers. Indeed, the US government is hoping to pass similar legislation regarding delayed baggage in the country.

The Department of Transportation plans to make airlines liable to refund baggage fees if passengers’ luggage is delayed by over 12 hours domestically, and 25 hours internationally. They will also have to refund passengers if they can’t provide ancillary services like WiFi despite passengers paying. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated:

Consumers deserve to receive the services they pay for or to get their money back when they don’t. This proposed rule would require airlines to refund fees to passengers whose bags are significantly delayed or who don’t receive the services that they paid for.”

What do you make of Nigeria’s proposed delay compensation system? Have you ever been delayed while traveling there? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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