The first picture is of Lagos coming in from Frankfurt (6 hr flight). In the next one we’re at the arrival gate. Murtala Muhammed is a former military head of state that the airport is named after. So .. how did it go in Lagos airport? Well, was quite an adventure! The passport check point is as basic as it gets : 2 uniformed officials behind a bare counter top inspecting our passports and the blue arrival cards that we filled out. NO passport scanner, NO camera, NO computer. Not even a pad and a rubber stamp ! And where’s my visa? the official asked. My heart jumped – ‘Uh – I’m just connecting, on my way to South Africa’, I replied. Ok, said the customs official, we will hold your passport. Go and collect your luggage and come back here. The two baggage claims are not marked, there is no air conditioning and it is crowded. But lo and behold, my luggage did show up, and now I clamber back up the stairs man-handling my bags. The person that took my passport is no longer at the desk – turned out it got handed over to a person in another room. The guy with our passports tells 4 of us to follow him. We go outside onto the tar road in front of the terminal, dodging the taxi drivers soliciting rides, then back into the terminal, up another flight of stairs. By now I’m sweating the way I do after eating mildly spiced Mexican or Thai food (a lot!) . Inside there is another crowd of people clamoring at the South African Airways check-in counter. No problem : our escort yells at the officials in charge of the check-in line, and gets us right in front. Finally he hands our passports back to us and shows is to the security check point for the boarding gates.
So the ‘passport separation anxiety’ we felt was not warranted – the official was very helpful. We would have been totally at a loss as to where to go next, after going through the passport check. Should we have tipped him? I don’t know – I didn’t. I didn’t have any local currency anyway. But if the airport had been modeled on Schiphol airport from what I read on-line, there was none of that efficiency visible. The airport suffers from badly designed passenger traffic flow; it needs to install electronic systems, and it needs some serious sign posting to be installed as well.
The cool African mask is from inside the lounge at the airport.
Another 6 hrs got us in at 6.00 am at Johannesburg airport. I had to hustle to make my 7.00 am connection to Cape Town (another long passport control line + re-check bagagge + run to the gate). But hey, I made it, and so did my baggage : 3 international connections and 36 hrs of travel time!