By Anna Shilongo
An Air Namibia passenger had a run-in with airline staff over alleged poor service offered at Windhoek International Airport over the weekend.
The passenger who prefers anonymity was supposed to fly to Johannesburg. She expressed disappointment with the overall situation regarding service at the international airport.
It all started when the passenger was prevented from leaving the country by immigration officials because her passport was apparently damaged.
One of the officers claimed that the passenger’s passport was damaged, sending her back to apply for a new passport.
She apparently told the customer that the damaged passport carries a bad image for the country. But the customer had been travelling with that passport throughout the year.
“The passport is not completely damaged as the officer claims. It only has some water stains on it. There is no print missing or damage, everything stands out clear and visible.”
According to her, she was sent back to apply for another passport despite informing them that she was late for classes. The traveller is a student at the University of Johannesburg and was on a short break from school.
She was supposed to be in class the following morning, but the customs office refused to let her proceed. As a result, she was made to wait for about two hours for her luggage which was already on the plane.
After the two hours, she enquired with one of the Air Namibia officers at the counters, who told her to wait.
“The next thing I saw was people disappearing one by one. I was very disappointed. I kept asking whoever came my way, but they all gave me the same answer that I should wait and that they were busy offloading. That was after three hours,” said the disappointed Air Namibia traveller. There came a point when she could no longer wait and nothing came through.
“They wasted my time. They were just supposed to be honest with me at the beginning that I wasn’t going to get my luggage instead of ignoring me,” she said.
In the meantime, her luggage was never offloaded as promised. This left her in a quandary. She now has no clothes or cosmetics as all her belongings are in the bag.
All she has are her handbag and a laptop.
“How am I supposed to renew my passport when I don’t have any documents on me?” she asked.
Finally help came from the head passenger-handling officer, Moses Shihepo. He apologised for the inconvenience caused by the airliner.
Shihepo said Air Namibia would do its best to solve the problem.
“I will call our officers at Johannesburg airport to keep your luggage. There is no use for the luggage to be sent back to Namibia as you were told. We will make all the relevant arrangements,” he said.
Meanwhile, he referred the customer to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, to acquire a six months temporary passport.
He also referred her to Air Namibia’s head office to claim for immediate cosmetics – apparently in accordance with the airline policy.