A short flight on a tired 737 built for AirTran then a nearly 12 hour layover in Lagos. Not my best travel day, but I tried to make the most of it. Due to limited flight options between Accra and Lagos, I ended up with along layover before my flights home. Like my outbound trip, I remained in transit in Lagos, so I’d be stuck in the airport. I knew about this long layover ahead of time as opposed to my previous visit to Lagos where I had a much longer stop than planned.
Arik Air 737 from Accra to Lagos
Last view of Accra Ghana. Homeward bound via Lagos
I secured a window seat for the short flight to Lagos. Unlike my last flight, this time my Arik Air ticket held up this time, and in fact we left early. The short flight was perfectly fine, but despite the plane being relatively new, it was in poor shape. This was a 737-700 built for Airtran, but it was never delivered to them. When I flew, it was only 7 years old, but it was looking pretty worn. The best example of this was the armrest at my seat which was in very poor shape.
Needless to say, there was no working XM radio
12 hours in transit in Lagos
After arrival back in Lagos, it was back to the somewhat familiar routine of transiting this airport. I mentioned my intentions to the officials, but still some tried to get me to go through immigration. There was a brief encounter with an immigration officer who asked about my visa, and what I had for him, which I took to be a bribe request. I laughed it off, and told him again that I was remaining in transit. He quickly agreed to let me go wait for the immigration officer assisting transit passengers. There was a minimal wait for myself and a few other transit passengers, and once the officer arrived, we headed back upstairs to the transit waiting area. The long wait was on.
I had no intentions of waiting in a small room all day. It was fine, there was air conditioning, and power ports, but one passenger was snoring so loudly, I had to get out. I have a Lounge Club membership, thanks to my Chase Ink card. (This is no longer is a benefit of this card) This allows for 2 free visits to affiliated lounges. I noticed the Oasis lounge was available, and the entrance was adjacent to where I was waiting. I eventually headed there to see if the accommodations were any better.
Oasis Lounge, Lagos Airport (Priority Pass/Lounge Club)
The lounge was empty, as at least one of the flights that hosts premium passengers there had just departed. The agent seemed reluctant to let me in, and told me that I could stay for a maximum of 6 hours. That was longer than I needed, so it was fine. Eventually he welcomed me in, and I found a seat near the windows. There is no food out, but there is a small menu of items to order from a menu at the bar.
Oasis Lounge bar
I think due to the lack of flights in the midday hours, some of the menu items weren’t available, but I was ready for some real food, and the club sandwich with fries was decent enough
snack in Oasis lounge
I didn’t do too much in the lounge other than read and enjoy the quiet (no one snoring loudly like in the last place I was waiting). The internet service was problematic, but ultimately, I got it to work. Staff was not particularly helpful with this or anything else. I think they expected the lounge to be empty, so I cramped their style. Lots of people came in to the lounge for brief periods, but most were airport staff. I was the only guest for most of my stay there.
Empty lounge, but better than my previous accommodation
Planespotting in Lagos
The lounge was a decent place for plane spotting, at least for somewhat unique carriers, at least compared with what I see on most of my travels.
Star Alliance partners on the tarmac from the Oasis lounge
Guinness is very popular in Nigeria, so I figured, ‘when in Africa…’
I watched the tarmac traffic with nice views from the lounge despite very dirty windows. I remained in the lounge long enough to see the United 787 land and taxi to the gate. At least I knew the aircraft to take me back to the US had landed.
The somewhat rare A340-500, this one in Arik livery
Back outside security for United check in
After a few hours one of the immigration agents found me in the lounge. She had helped me on both trips through Lagos. I was appreciative of her assistance, but I was quite annoyed she asked for money since she was getting off work and wouldn’t see me again. Anyway, at least now the immigration agents knew where I was sitting so they could get me before checkin.
Eventually I headed back to the main terminal to check in for my United flight. I could have checked in online (and I did so), but I needed a printer for my boarding pass. I’m not sure this would l have worked to get onboard, but it would have been nice not to go in and out of security. Once I had my official boarding card, I was on my own. I headed to a the lounge for United business class guests, the Gabfol lounge.
Gabfol Lounge, Lagos
This lounge was a little bit smaller and in a different wing of the airport. It was a little further from the United gate than the Oasis lounge, but it was fine, and maybe slightly better than the terminal. I think the website slightly oversells what is actually offered:
Our main concept in this comprehensive departure lounge,is to set you in the right state of mind before you leave for business or your holiday. Built with the mindset to help you de-stress and re-discover the finer things in life, GABFOL LOUNGE provides you with just what you need to start off your journey in the right direction.
So, step in and discover the finer things of life as you enjoy and relax in an environment that is truly filled with international hospitality.
Not quite…but it probably beats the terminal
There are a few rooms of the lounge, but the United passengers were invited to a locked room that had a few food and drink items, and assorted seating. There is free wifi. Food consisted of prepackaged cookies, finger sandwiches and a few other cold items that only came out after the lounge was nearly full, and nearing United’s departure time. There were also some wine, soft drinks, juices and beer available.
Gabfol lounge beverages
Entertainment consisted of a projector showing poor quality soccer videos. It seemed to be a 2010 year in review for Arsenal. After this video ended, CNN came on. There is more substantial food available. This can be ordered from the adjacent lounge. Access to this lounge and the food can be had for cash.
All available food drinks and entertainment in Gabfol lounge
This was better than the terminal since there was free wifi and some food and drinks, but I don’t think I “re-discovered the finer things in life” during my visit. I’m being sarcastic of course. I didn’t stay here long, because boarding time approached, and after a long day in the airport, I was ready to head towards home.
I left the lounge and walked towards the departure gate which fit in the same small area for a nearly full 787 as was used for the 8 passengers on the Africa World Airways E145 I took on my previous Lagos departure. It was rather chaotic.
Other reports from this trip:
A Trip of Firsts
Initial thoughts on my trip to Ghana
United 787 Dreamliner BusinessFirst from Houston to Lagos
An extended layover in Lagos Nigeria and a flight on Africa World Airways
Cash only in Accra, Ghana, and Africa in general
The drive from Accra to Cape Coast with a van full of wedding guests
A stay at the Ko-Sa Beach Resort, Cape Coast, Ghana
Exploring history of the slave trade in Cape Coast
Travel to Kakum National Park and being the only obruni on the bus to Accra
Arik Air from Accra and lounge hopping during a long layover in Lagos (this post)
United 787 Dreamliner Business First from Lagos to Houston