In what can only be termed a bad start for their flights twice a week to Kigali, which run as an extension of the daily flights to Entebbe, flydubai has, according to tweets seen already, started the shenanigans passengers dread the most. A flight got cancelled, with no notice, and passengers waiting at the airport were told that it was “rescheduled” for a day later – the word rescheduled only a thinly-masked attempt to make it look normal, as cancelled flights are never rescheduled but rather passengers are rebooked on another flight – before this morning at 6 am passengers were informed/texted that there was now another delay with departure due for 4 pm.
Only a few weeks ago, the airline launched six destinations in East Africa, commencing daily flights to Entebbe with three of these flights routing on to Bujumbura and two on to Kigali, while in neighboring Tanzania three new destinations were launched – Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, and Zanzibar.
“Times when @flydubai cancels flight from #KGL, no alert, re-schedules for 24hours later, then calls/SMS 6am Sunday w/another change.
“@flydubai But worst really that if you switch airline you only get a damn voucher, no proper refund. Lowcost need better regulation.”
“@flydubai #KGL downtown rep never reachable, so all other passengers came to and stranded at airport. Greeted inside by cancel msg.”
Questions were obviously raised swiftly with this correspondent on the punctuality record of the airline and their methods and procedures, if not outright tactics as to how they deal with passengers in such a case. Also under scrutiny is the fact that the airline representative allegedly ignored calls, perhaps thinking that pulling a blind will spare him and his employers some added drama, a hope clearly not fulfilled when the matter went into the public domain.
Perhaps it is time to have the East African regulators take a leaf from the European regulators and impose certain minimum standards on the low-cost carriers. That is hopefully happening before passengers take their grievance against the respective airlines letting them down to court and naming the regulators as co-respondents for failing their public duty to ensure that passenger rights are upheld or else the guilty airlines fined accordingly and made to compensate affected travelers.