Musings from the lounge….

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  • DavidSmith2

    As I sit here at Accra airport, with the BA flight delayed by around two hours, I muse.

    Firstly I muse as to why the London-Accra-London flight is almost always delayed – usually between 1 and 3 hours? An on-time departure/arrival is a 1 in 10 rarity.

    Then I muse as to why I bother to check and pre-select my seat, only to be told at check in that the seat is faulty so they have put me in 11B instead (just hope my neighbour doesn’t need to get up and jump over my legs too often during the night).

    Then I reflect on the guy in front of me as we checked in. He had a medium sized, middle of the range, blue, hard-shell Samonite suitcase, identical to mine. Coincidence. He had a rainbow luggage strap around it, identical to mine. Spooky! He had a BA gold card member tag attached to the handle…. %&*!£$!!! – I only have silver.

    Then I mused again…. I should be in London for breakfast, better to identify the fault with the seat sooner than later.. and I reckon, with a fair wind, I should reclaim my gold card before the end of 2023. I shoudn’t grumble.

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    Did you check the seat you had selected to see if it was really faulty and thus empty? Or just somebody had it re-assigned upon a “tip”.


    The sort of corruption used to happen fairly frequently in Africa and around the smaller stations in Asia back in the nineties (before computerisation had made the scam more difficult).Back in the days when I lived in Africa if you were known and liked at a port there was always a seat prior booking or not often just before the doors closed.

    In Asia back in the days when I was known within some management circles of a well known airline I and my young family were on the way back to HK from a (then) small holiday destination in Thailand we were refused boarding because the row of seats had become ‘unsafe’.

    This was difficult for me as I needed to get back for business the following day – there were then only a couple of flights a week
    I suspected a scam as the check-in chap was clearly uneasy when challenged for detail ‘why us etc etc. I asked to see the station manager ‘not available’.

    I did two things phoned HK to a good friend who was in senior management and them went and found the station manager. He looked about 16 and was it turned out a management cadet on first assignment and he was for no reason aggressively arrogant when asked in a reasonable way what could be done.
    As it happened the plane was late and had not even reached Thailand (of which I was unaware at the time) thus our chap was in some trouble with the faulty seat scam.

    Finally HK called me back, seats became available.
    Later I found out that the young (temporary) station manager had been working the scam aggressively for weeks with assistance from check in staff and accommodating 5 or 6 locals on most
    flights. Apparently he was already suspected. He was of course sacked and I received a nicely framed painting of a Thai island from the ‘Club’
    By total coincidence I found it the other day. In the store room (a luxury in HK) where have been lurking for a few years a couple of boxes from storage from a property in Auckland that I sold off some 15 years ago. In it were half a dozen forgotten small framed paintings and prints and there dusty but intact was the Thai print. It looks rather good up on a colourful guest bathroom wall

    As scams go the broken seat is ‘a good un’ and I am sure continues in some further flung ports. Accra being fairly well flung.

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