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Monday, January 22

Chimamanda Adichie calls out Delta Airlines over treatment of Nigerian customers

Famous author,Chimamanda Adichie was not happy about Delta Airlines’ policy which requires that Nigerian flights passengers physically present themselves and their credit card after purchasing flight tickets online or over the phone as such is not required for Delta flights in other countries

 She wrote;


Seven years ago, I sent this letter to Delta Airlines.

Delta Airlines Nigeria Policy: A Complaint

On April 20, 2010 I bought two Lagos-Baltimore return tickets on for my parents. I paid for the tickets with my credit card. They were scheduled to leave Lagos on June 3 2010 and return on November 1 2010. They arrived the United States as scheduled, with no incident. A few weeks later, our family plans changed. I contacted Delta and changed their return date to December 30 2010. A change fee was paid. Confirmation e-mails were sent. Everything else remained the same.

On December 30, I was ill in bed.

A family member took my parents to the airport. Delta representatives refused to check my parents in. They insisted that the credit card used to pay for the ticket must be physically produced, and the owner of the credit card physically appear, otherwise my parents would not be allowed to travel.

I called and asked to speak to a manager and was rudely told that nothing could be done.

I was shocked and unbelieving. My father, a 78-year-old diabetic who had an important family event to attend in Nigeria, was worried about missing his flight. I, unwell, was forced to dash to the airport as quickly as I could. I then ‘physically presented’ myself and my credit card.

My parents ended up missing their flight and were re-booked on the next flight.

While I understand that Delta is keen to prevent fraud, and I indeed sympathize about any fraudulent purchases that Nigerians might have made, Delta MUST also treat each case individually and not lump all Nigerian travelers into one group of potential fraudsters.

If the Delta representative had been willing to look at the specifics of this incident, it would have been quite clear that this was not in any way a fraudulent ticket purchase. My parents had already travelled on the first leg of the ticket months before and my credit card had already been fully charged.

I was fortunately at home, even if sick, but I might as well have been away. What then would have happened if I were unable to ‘physically appear?’ Does Delta expect everyone who buys tickets for family or friends always to be physically present at a Delta counter?

I write to register my profound disappointment and to strongly urge Delta to review its ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy towards Nigerian travelers. There must be ways to prevent fraud while also recognizing the individual humanity of each customer.


Chimamanda Adichie


I sent this in 2010.

I received a generic, platitude-filled response, along with an inane one-hundred-dollar domestic Delta voucher that I never used."