How to buy an aeroplane ticket in Nigeria

1. Visit website of desired airline.
2. Select flight, date, etc.
3. Proceed to payment page.
4. Observe large red warning notice to the effect that, thanks to your country of origin being infested with dickheads who would defraud their unborn children, paying online is not an option.
5. Choose a good book.
6. Walk up one flight of steps to the airline office, which just so happens to be situated above yours.
7. Hold your nose and try to avoid retching too loudly. Wonder aloud why some people cannot wash.
8. Have an inane conversation with a brain-dead security guard who is playing receptionist for the day.
9. Write your name on a piece of paper and collect a ticket.
10. Sit in the pre-waiting area, which is where people wait before being admitted to the waiting area. Get your nose in the book. Read 10 pages.
11. Wait until the security guard calls you into the waiting area proper.
12. Take a seat and get your nose back in the book. Read 10-20 pages.
13. When sign displays your number, go to appropriate desk.
14. Ask bloke behind the desk how you can pay for your recently booked ticket.
15. Absorb advice that payment in the office is possible but will not include the 5% online purchase discount, if you want that you will have to pay in a bank.
16. Go back downstairs to office, call a driver to take you to the secure bank in the company offices.
17. Sit in traffic for three quarters of an hour.
18. Get to bank, hand over company cheque made out in your name and handed to you in your first week for reasons which were never made clear.
19. Hang about whilst the bank clerk does some pointless administration exercise crucial to the cashing of your cheque. Where did I put my other book? I’ve finished this one.
20. Hand over passport copy.
21. Write your name, address, date, and signature on the back of the cheque.
22. Hand cheque back to clerk, who stamps it right next to where you have just written.
23. Write your name, date, and signature where he has stamped.
24. Hand cheque back to clerk.
25. Wait for a while, polishing off chapters 1-3 of your next book.
26. Accept massive pile of reeking Nigerian bank notes the size of a breeze block. Stuff them into rucksack.
27. Wander the streets for a while trying to find where your driver has parked. He’s not allowed to park in the security of the office compound, so employees carrying huge piles of cash must roam the back streets with it immediately after half the company has just seen you withdraw it.
28. Find driver, sit in traffic whilst he pretends to take you to the next bank.
29. Get to bank, approach counter.
30. Ask dimwit behind counter where you can pay for tickets.
31. Get directed to another counter.
32. Get directed to side door.
33. Go through side door and down tatty corridor to prison cell door.
34. Thump on door.
35. Present mug for inspection when sliding hatch opens.
36. Go through door into stinking strong room with what looks to be a freedom fighter of a peasant army holding an AK-47 guarding the door.
37. Go to desk at the back, explain to clerk sitting beside the biggest pile of money you’ve ever seen that you want to pay for an airline ticket.
38. Go to other desk, fill out name, telephone number, amount, and airline on the left-hand page of a ledger.
39. Go back to first desk, fill out triplicate form with name, telephone number, amount, and booking reference.
40. Hand form to clerk. Get your book out.
41. Dig into rucksack and pull out massive pile of cash. Hand over thickness of notes that you think is within 10% of the ticket price.
42. Watch clerk spin the notes through a counter, pay the shortfall.
43. Watch, or read, while clerk stamps your form and scribbles stuff on bits of paper.
44. Go to ledger, write name, telephone number, amount, and form serial number on right-hand page.
45. Take form to another counter and hand it to clerk.
46. Return to seat in the corner and read your book.
47. Clarify pretty much every piece of information on the form, one at a time, when the clerk asks.
48. Wait for clerk to manually type details into computer.
49. Receive pieces of paper, accompany clerk out of strongroom and into main part of bank.
50. Hand pieces of paper back to clerk, who disappears somewhere.
51. Enjoy your book for a while.
52. Receive pieces of paper, now decorated with various stamps.
53. Sign and date pieces of paper.
54. Watch whilst clerk tears them in half and gives you your portion.
55. Leave bank, sit in traffic for 45 minutes on return to office.
56. Check email and receive e-ticket.

I just can’t figure out why Nigeria isn’t prosperous.

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14 Responses to How to buy an aeroplane ticket in Nigeria

  1. Alisa says:

    OMG, it sounds even worse than Russia…I’m so proud!

  2. Tim Newman says:

    Nigeria makes Russia look as organised and efficient as Singapore.

  3. Kalle says:

    Actually, this sounds exactly like Russia, the only difference being that you actually CAN pay online in Russia.

  4. Tatyana says:

    And once again, I agree with Alisa.

    I hope you had hot water in the shower when finally back to your quarters…

  5. Tim Newman says:

    Tatyana, the water here is warm naturally. Even the buffoons who run my hotel couldn’t manage to accidentally chill the supply.

  6. Tatyana says:

    *rolls-eye*

    all I can say is to exclaim, like in French sentimental novels of 18th century: Courage, my friend!

  7. Mark says:

    I never thought I’d defend such horrific and conspicuous excess, but you need your own plane.

  8. Tatyana says:

    Mark: great idea.

    Tim: check out Charlie Tango.
    My online acquaintance, a couple living in France, is very happy with it.

  9. Gringo says:

    Good take-down.

  10. Ginger says:

    I have worked in the bank before.I can relate to this…hahahaha. Were you writing each step down as it happened or did you did this from memory? more lolss

  11. Pingback: White Sun of the Desert » Buying Airline Tickets in Russia

  12. Nigerian and Proud says:

    Come on Tim, can you furnish us with the name of the airline (and their website) and the name of the bank? so that we can verify your tale?.
    Why don’t you write a blog post about 2011 Summer Shopping in Tottenham LOL……i would love to see how you describe the breaking and shop lifting.
    I hear Iran is now giving Britain pointers on riot control!
    LOLZZZZZZZ!!!!

  13. Tim Newman says:

    Emirates Airlines, Zenith Bank on Kofo Abayomi St. And I’ve described the riots in Britain here:

    http://www.desertsun.co.uk/blog/?p=1029

  14. Kene Mezue says:

    Yea, Zenith Bank had that silly habit of making people pay in money in dungeons…I really pitied the people working there (lack of ventilation, sunlight, depression etc). i really wanted to study the medical effects on them as undergraduate…ha ha ha…

    Nice blog Tim. Enjoyed your satire on Nigeria…but I hope you have observed that we are truly the HAPPIEST NATION ON EARTH…have you wondered why people are almost always grinning from ear to ear despite the widespread poverty? It really beats me too…In the UK, I have hardly ever notice anyone on the streets smile…and even when they try to smile at you in shops and offices, it is soooo cosmetic…

    I read your posts on the London riots…these feral kids are simply the result of the lack of parental and school discipline…why did you guys in the UK stop parents from administering corporal punishment? Why aren’t teachers allowed to yell at naughty student (let alone even beat them when they err). These scenes on TV are the result of a broken society…and we all know it. But I hope it spurs the country to change, and maybe borrow a leaf from African societies on Ubuntu, and child up-bringing…you will never see a large group of kids in Southern Nigeria looting (yea, we have gangs of armed robbers, but not large scale looting)…and I emphasized Southern Nigeria cos in the North, we have the Al-majiri problem – which is probably similar to what you have in the UK now…

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