There are a number of ill-mannered people in the world. We encounter them every day, on our commute to work, in queues at the bank, in the office and an assortment of places, but never have I seen so many ill-mannered people together in one place as in Ethiopian Airlines Office, Silverbird Entertainment Centre, Abuja. I’ve been to this particular branch twice and both times, I noticed that their staff are generally rude. They say the third time’s the charm and they were right ‘cos my third visit really takes the cake.

I walked into a room full of chaos. There were people everywhere – some standing and being attended to, some standing and not being attended to, some sitting and being attended to, some sitting and waiting to be attended to. From past experience, I knew that if I took a seat I’d be there for ages not knowing when it would be my turn so I walked up to an agent who was attending to a customer.

‘Excuse me please?’, I said repeatedly until he looked up at me.

‘Sit down and wait your turn’, he said, obviously annoyed at my intrusion.

‘Sorry but I just want to make a quick enquiry. I want to know who would attend to me so I do not sit and wait for you only to be told that someone else will attend to my enquiry’, I explained. He was glaring at me now and although he didn’t ask what my enquiry was, I went ahead to ask him who I should talk to about a ticket upgrade.

‘You’ll see that lady’, he replied, pointing to a woman on another table with her own ‘queue’.

Glad that only a married couple stood between me and the agent, I watched in amazement as they were tossed back and forth by 3 agents concerning their ticket booking. Fed up, with the treatment, they left and it was finally my turn or so I thought. The lady agent didn’t acknowledge my presence so after waiting for a while for her to look up at me, I took out my BlackBerry and started working on this post. I had been standing there for about 5 minutes when she got up and left her desk, still without acknowledging my presence let alone telling me she would be back shortly.

I was still trying to get over her rude behaviour when another client came in and stood beside me. There was a male agent standing, doing nothing, by the vacated agent’s chair so she called out to him and said that she wanted to make an enquiry. He answered snappily, saying that there was no PC in front of him so she should sit down and wait till it was her turn. She, like me a few moments before, was baffled.

‘How would you know when it’s my turn?’, she asked. ‘You didn’t ask me to take a number or write my name down. You should at least let me ask the question first before shutting me up’, she added. Her point was valid because after he let her ask the question, it required a yes or no answer. The lady left and yours truly was left standing alone, no one paying me any mind. Fed up with it all, I grabbed a chair and positioned it right in front of the agent’s desk, waiting for her to return. No one asked me if I had been attended to or if I needed any help. To add insult to injury, the snappy male agent sat in the vacant chair of my ‘ditcher’ and used her PC to attend to a client he knew. I was seated facing him and he seemed oblivious to my presence while he attended to this customer standing right next to me.

I sat in Ethiopian Airlines Office waiting for the lady agent from 12:16 – 12:50am. A sales rep in a back office eventually noticed that I had been waiting for a long time and then went out of his way to attend to me. The others just didn’t care and the agent I was waiting for did not return to her desk until I exited the office.

My advice, if you want to travel with Ethiopian Airlines, book and pay online.



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