If you travel by air a lot, beware of over friendly chatty seat neighbours

An elderly lady came to sit next to me inside the Plane. She asked me to assist her in placing her bag in the overhead luggage compartment. But a gentleman who was  sitting at the adjacent seat got up and crossed to assist her to place the handbag. (I am not very tall and the overhead luggage compartment is something I try to avoid at all costs).

Immediately, this elderly woman sits down she strikes up a conversation with me. She was very pleasant and well spoken. So we chatted all through the flight to Dubai!
Suddenly, when the pilot announced that we had now commenced and descend into DXB, this elderly woman seated beside me suddenly developed stomach cramps. As a kind hearted person, I immediately pressed the flight attendants button for assistance. I told her my seat mate was not feeling well..

The stewardess  came over to our seat and I informed her of the sudden health condition of the elderly woman sitting beside me. The stewardess informed us that she only had painkillers in the first aid box, if she wanted it or that the woman should be patient as we would soon land. The elderly woman started referring to me as ‘my daughter’ The pilot announced there was  a medical emergency on board and advised all passengers to remain calm. In the meantime, this elderly woman was crying and sweating profusely. She held on to my hand and  refused to let go off my hand… that other passengers taught we were travelling together.

So we landed at DXB and the same gentleman who helped put up her luggage in the overhead compartment removed her luggage. But as he removed the luggage, he advised me to distance myself from this lady and make it clear to the cabin crew that we were NOT travelling together.

He was a godsent!

So indeed, the cabin crew came and asked me if we were related, I categorically told them we had met on the plane. I didn’t know her at all. So we began to disembark and as I said goodbye she kept begging me to carry her handbag. I was almost compelled to assist her out of kindness and cultural orientation to help an older person, but the gentleman who sat adjacent to us looked me in the eye and emphatically shook his head. He  scribbled something on a piece of paper and passed me the note directing me to allow only the cabin crew to handle and assist the woman.

So I disembarked and feeling very guilty, and left the older woman to wait for the wheelchair and be assisted by the cabin crew as advised .

As we were waiting for our luggage to come through, I heard some noise and a commotion. I saw the elderly sick woman running and trying to escape from the cabin crew-she had suddenly ‘recovered miraculously’ and got up from the wheelchair she left the stewardess with her ‘handbag’  and ran towards the exit with the rest of her hand luggage. Luckily the well trained airport police in Dubai were faster than her. They got hold of her and brought her back to the luggage collection area in handcuffs.

The older woman now started calling out to me. my daughter, my daughter!. how can you do this to me? that’s when I understood I was being set up with all the friendly chat to take the fall. She was carrying drugs and she was trying to implicate me!

Fortunately, the gentleman who sat adjacent to us by the aisle, and had assisted the elderly woman to put her bag in the overhead compartment came forward and informed the Airport Police that we had met on the plane and were not travelling together. The Police requested and collected my passport and ask the elderly woman to reveal my full names if we were travelling together. Thank God that throughout the flight, I had not disclosed my first name!  She was unable to respond and give my full names as printed on my passport.

Nevertheless, I was still invited for further interrogation with the Police in a small room where I was questioned extensively and drilled.  I was asked where I met her, where I boarded the aircraft, where she boarded the aircraft and sat next to me and more personal questions. My luggage was extensively searched and dusted for fingerprints to remove all doubt about my innocence.

The Police now proceeded to dust all the woman’s luggage and my fingerprints were not found anywhere on her luggage or handbag.

The Police now released me with the strong worded advice never to touch anyone’s luggage either in flight or at the airport. So, from that day. I never assisted or cared about anybody when travelling irrespective of the amount of bags and luggage they struggle with. I would not even offer a trolley to put your luggage on! Your luggage is your headache – that is my policy from now on. If for any reason, the traveler is unable to reach the overhead compartment and I am in the next seat, they can reach the cabin crew for assistance. I will always look the other way. I have learnt the hard way! This true life experience is being shared for intending travelers.

If I had read a life experience like this, I would never have fallen into the elderly woman’s trap.  Public awareness campaigns are very important and the NDLEA should endeavor to get more messages out to the public.

A stitch in time, saves nine.

A lesson to glean therein for intending air travelers.

This is a true story and a note of caution to all travellers.
Headlinenews.news partners interested agencies for Public Sensitisation campaigns in order to achieve a better Nigeria for Nigerians.

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