7 Annoying Things Nigerians do on airplanes

sleeping on planesLike me, I bet you’ve all run around with your bathing towels wrapped above your shoulders like a cape and pretended to be Superman (and if you haven’t then it’s never too late!). Ever since I was a little brat I wanted to take to the skies. Air travel is the next best thing and I’m always looking forward to having a glass plastic cup of ice-cold apple juice which always tastes better at 10,000 feet. What could possibly disrupt this moment of long-awaited bliss? Cue the Nigerians… On my recent return trip from New York alone I encountered 7 annoying things Nigerians did on the plane:

1. Securing beds…in Economy Class! There’s a game Nigerian passengers play whenever they’re on-board a semi-full airplane – It’s kind of similar to Musical Chairs…but without the music. Passengers snub the seats assigned to them and scout for a stretch of three to four empty seats before take-off. Handbags and other luggage items are strategically placed on empty seats in the hope for that Business Class experience – pathetic.

2. Making dramatic Nollywood scenes. Whoever said ‘Rules are meant to be broken’ must have been a Nigerian. We’re pretty damn good at breaking rules…into smithereens, just for good measure. There was one woman sat at the front of economy class with her less-than-a-year-old baby. She put her baby down on the empty seat next to her when the seat belt light was off (not sure if that’s proper in the first place but I’ll let her off on that one). The moment the seat belt light was back on, however, one of the air hostesses called her to order and told her to strap her baby in place – RED ALERT! RED ALERT! MAY DAY! MAY DAY! You knew from the way the irritated mother turned her neck with that ‘oh-no-you-didn’t’ expression all over her face that cabin pressure was under serious threat. Needless to say she told the air hostess to mind her own business – ironically, that’s what the air-hostess was trying to do in the first place…Safety of passengers…DUH! I can’t remember if the thud I heard later on was due to turbulence or because the baby had rolled off the chair…

3. Taking pictures. You can imagine trying to enjoy a good book when suddenly the corner of your eye picks up the flash photography of some newbie whose obviously hell-bent on convincing everyone back in Nigeria that he/she indeed travel abroad. Newsflash! There may be people with photosensitive epilepsy on-board or nearby pilots wondering if there is a terrorist hijacking, with one unfortunate Nigerian who decided to break one simple rule ‘DON’T MOVE!’ (go figure!)

4. Farting. It’s bad enough you left your assigned seat at the front and decided to come behind me and stretch yourself across four empty seats. Now you’re so generous as to share your flatulence with me in small doses of ammonia-laced farts…not a one-off…periodic discharges which could catch choke me unawares if I dare yawn. FYI, avoid fizzy drinks on the plane if you know you can’t handle your abdominal tract like few pros among us.

5. Drink to stupor. Is it the sheer pettiness of wanting to get one’s money’s worth that would make a passenger drink like a fish? (Remember, its Nigerians we’re talking about here). Of course, it’s not the drinking that bothers me but the mindless banter and laughter at completely ‘unfunny’ things that drives me up the Berlin wall (just like that – after a couple of drinks you’d be in stitches when you read ‘drive me up the berlin wall’).

6. Leaving toilets unlocked. Common sense consistently fails to prevail when most Nigerians use the airline’s restrooms. It all boils down to refusing to acknowledge the instructions/directions carefully displayed all around them. It’s quite simple – you enter the restroom and close it behind you. Right there on door is a slide lock which denotes ‘Slide left to lock and right to open’. Why wouldn’t I be interested in making sure that no one accidentally sees my ‘bits’? Didn’t they notice the green ‘vacant’ or the red ‘occupied’ sign before entering the lavatory? At my last count I’ve walked in on 3 unfortunate passengers who forgot to lock behind (but they all did once I exposed them…makes you wonder, eh?).

7. Sitting ovation. I’m not sure if you can relate but you’re nearing your flight destination and as soon as the plane lands successfully passengers around you start to clap until virtually everyone joins in. Why are they doing this, you ask? beats me – for landing safely or for not crashing into the deep blue sea or for getting their money’s worth after usurping the mini bar…I dunno. The clapping is cheesy in my opinion. I’d much prefer passengers go one by one to shake the pilot(s) for a job well done plane well-landed.

And coming in at a surprise number 8 is Irregular exercise. Make no mistake about it, Nigerians are terrified about premature death, more so than the average civilian (if that makes any sense). I’ve seen the most bizarre repetitions performed from kicking mid-air to punching only your left arm over the seat head in the same direction. Deep Vein thrombosis is no laughing matter so I guess all I have to do is close my eyes next time if I don’t want to behold seemingly amateurish ‘Kung-fu’. 

On that note, and on account of my long stint away from blogging recently, I bid you ‘HAAAIYA!’ 😀

Photo credit: online.wsj.com

30 thoughts on “7 Annoying Things Nigerians do on airplanes

  1. *laughing hard* Oh my goodness, where do I start? The farting bit or the refusal to lock the restroom door bit? We are ‘special’ but #1 still baffles me. Are you sure some folks didn’t bring their wrappers from home too? That should have made #9.

    The sitting ovation isn’t a Nigerian thing. I have experienced it first hand and there were no Nigerians in sight … I think ….

    • LOL @ folks bring their wrappers from home. Well, my sister said she saw one passenger in a night robe and hair net but even I find that hard to believe hehe. As for the sitting ovation, I’m sure there were Nigerians involved – wasn’t it a Nigerian airline or a flight en route to/from Nigeria? If there was a but of turbulence experienced however Nigerians probably wouldn’t be so keen to clap, lol. Cheers Sharon – long time 🙂

  2. hilarious! ok i silently hope there isn’t a passenger sitting next to me (because of the way some people struggle for the arm rest…well i just leave it for them) but I don’t scurry around looking for empty seats, it annoys the crap out of me when people do….
    and i must confess, i join in the clapping..lol…well that’s after I say thank you Jesus thank you Jesus for a safe flight…ha ha
    and no 9 on the list: standing up before the doors open (where in the world are they hurrying to??? that’s so embarrassing!)
    no. 10. making phone calls. can’t they just stick by the rules for once?! one time i was heading to Abuja, we were airborne and this alhaji was on the phone! You should have seen the way people screamed at him…hehehe
    phew! long comment o

    • thanks for the long comment jare! I forgot about the arm rest tussle, lol. You’re right on that one. There was some loonie who also tried to make a phone call as we were about to land. Coincidentally the pilot announced that all mobile devices must be switched – I believe that’s enough confirmation that phone calls DO interfere with the airline’s communication. People just like to ignore rules sometimes…maybe they have nine lives! Oh, and you’re clapper? *covers eyes* You’re pardoned 🙂

  3. I’m coming out of retirement just one more time…..I’m sure your list of 8 are not to be attributed to just Nigerians. Well the fear of deep vein thrombosis/ pulmonary embolism is the beginning of Wisdom/Exercise, especially if you fly economic class constantly…

    • the fear of deep vein thrombosis/ pulmonary embolism is the beginning of Wisdom/Exercise – Nice quote…endorsing! Glad you’re coming out of retirement gradually, lol. Hope the next post has the same effect! *Fingers crossed*

  4. I love this. Your post came to me at the right time! It’ll be my first time on a plane in few months & I’m super excited, can’t wait. But….am I allowed to take at least a picture, obviously since I’m a newbie? And deep vein thrombosis is truly no laughing matter. Infact, I’m gonna put a ‘skipping rope’ in my hand luggage and ok, nevermind…LOL!

  5. Points number (1), (3) and (7) pisses me off (excuse my manners)…terribly… however i was happy when I found out that the Sitting ovation thing is not just a Naija thing.. Was on a flight from Vienna to Spain and back… I guess we can somewhat trace our lineage to Spain….or something.. that is the only explanation *smiles*

    • lol @ pisses me off terribly – I feel your pain. Perhaps a Nigerian saw what the Spanish did and just replicated it on a Nigerian flight. Next thing you know we’ll be doing our own version of the Harlem Shake! We need Sherlock to unravel this mystery once and for all. Cheers Toyin!

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  7. Lmao…true dis. The most annoying z d amount of loads, baggage, luggage….Nigerians carry as hand luggage, den innocent me wit either my laptop bag or my big Zara bag won’t find space to keep it, n d piquant smell oozing out from dose bags, n d “laughters”.

    • lol. I can relate concerning the ‘hand luggage’. I blame the airlines for being too liberal about the matter. But we can’t do anything about the laughter! Thanks for the comment.

  8. the sitting ovation is not a Nigerian thing. i have travelled on more international than local flights, and the white guys always did that. I think we even copied that from them,

  9. Reblogged this on livelytwist and commented:
    So, a friend tells me that on a recent flight from Lagos to Abuja, the pilot said, “We’ll be flying at 35,000 ft to Abuja. The weather is okay. Only light clouds, I will try and dodge them so there’s no shaking.” Is this the ninth annoying humorous thing Nigerians do on airplanes—employing Akpos’ brother to fly the plane? Hmmm….

  10. I travel quite a lot but haven’t found much on this list to complain about that’s unique to Nigerians….except number 7! I can’t say I blame them though! They’re happy to be alive Looooool!

  11. Oh please! Self-righteous people make me hurl. I went to finishing school at age 16 so I can safely say I know a thing or two about etiquette. But hunny, when you’re on a 13-16 hour flight, comfort is PRIORITY. So pls do forgive us mere prone-to-jetlag mortals for succumbing to our basic human need for comfort and for searching out ways to achieve this without shelling out a kidney for an upgrade.
    Lastly, the clapping thing may not be cool, but it’s a reflex reaction to the sheer euphoria you feel at knowing your feet would soon touch earth again + the plane cudv crashed but it didn’t – another reason to express joy. Go shake the pilots’ hands one by one? Really? That’s less ‘cheesy’ than clapping? Plus u think after flying a plane (probably at night) for 13 hours, the pilots are gonna wanna wait around to sign autographs and take pictures? Interesting! If you won’t join in the clapping, don’t (I personally just say a silent prayer) but don’t come ‘ere and bitch about it either. 🙂
    I like ur blog tho.

    • Lol. This blog is my sanctuary where I say whatever I feel like. I guess one could even say I’m taking a page from YOUR book 😉 So glad you like my crazy blog; e no eazy

  12. You forgot to mention that Nigerians don’t clean up the toilet seat and the wash bowl after them, and they hardly ever say please and thank you to flight attendants and whistle ‘pssssst’ instead of ‘excuse me’ to get the flight attendants attention.

    • Lol. You sound like my ideal flight passenger to sit next to. You’re absolutely right. I don’t get it though. When I walk into those toilets I want the next person to have a nice experience (even if I had to ‘clean up’ after the last person you messed the place up). The next person would also know that I’m a decent human being. Set a good example and hope others follow suit.

  13. The ovation thingy gets me all the time!
    The most annoying one is drinking yourself silly! This guy on a flight from Schiphol to Lagos kept hoarding bottles of wine each time the hostess passed by! He did so while instructing some lady he was traveling to collect as much as she could.
    When the flight landed, they even took with them the blankets and pillows!
    You must have forgotten to mention those who bring the biggest hand luggages and those who have no consideration for others ( Like the old man who’s seat couldn’t contain his arms, so I had to be cramped to my seat for hours. Punk me, was trying not to get cussed out so I hushed.)
    I enjoy reading your posts! I’ve liked so many of them, I’m afraid I could easily be called a stalker at this point!

    • lol @ stalker comment. I’m delighted that you find my posts amusing. You’re right about the scavenger passenger – hoarding after boarding…without an ounce of dignity! Oversized hand luggage is something I blame on the airline for allowing on board in the first place. Surely if you walk past the gate then it must be okay to take into the aircraft. I’m done with being considerate for others at my own disadvantage. On my last trip a man asked me if I could swap seats so he could sit closer to his family. I was in my favourite seat – the aisle seat, and even better, next to a young couple lost in each other’s eyes. Why on earth would I want to risk sitting in between Pavorotti and the Notorious BIG for the next 6 hours?! Go figure 🙂

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