Do airlines and airports treat African passengers differently?

African travellers flying on international airlines to and from the continent say they are fed up with receiving poor service from flight attendants and ground staff, and tired of being transported in older carriers.

Many told Al Jazeera that they notice the difference when they transit and travel on planes from the same airline, which boast sleeker aesthetics. Suddenly, they get more legroom, larger, touch-screen monitors and friendlier cabin crews.

Nigerian flier Chibuzo Okereke, who flew from Nigeria to Canada via France last year, told Al Jazeera: “The Air France flight from Lagos to Paris had a small screen, no USB charging port, and a limited selection of entertainment in comparison with the Paris to Toronto flight. It was an older aircraft.”

International airports have also been accused of applying a different set of standards, with African travellers alleging they experience extra security checks and have to traipse further through terminals to reach their gates.

Brussels Airport’s T terminal has come under particular scrutiny – with one blogger, Cosmos Godson, claiming to experience “structural racism” there.

Once inside, passengers cannot leave.

“At Brussels Airport, passengers travelling to Africa are bussed to a terminal that is more or less fortressed from the rest of the airport,” said frequent Kenyan traveller Duncan Omanga.

“Airport authorities argue the terminal is for any passenger travelling to Africa, and hence not discriminatory to anyone, but it is obvious that a vast majority of those passengers are Africans.”

Duncan Omanga
Duncan Omanga said it seems as though African passengers are afforded lower quality service at Brussels Airport [Courtesy: Duncan Omanga] Brussels Airport attributes the restrictio

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