Italian airline, Air Meridien, on Tuesday left about 40 of its passengers stranded at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

The passengers were reportedly prevented from checking in by the airline’s ground staff due to over-booking. Some of the passengers, who came in from states outside Lagos State, said the airline’s workers refused to communicate to them the reason why they were abandoned at the airport.

A source close at the terminal alleged that the flight was over-booked and the profilers seized the opportunity to collect tips from some of the passengers in order to be checked in and be on the flight.

One of the affected passengers alleged that she had arrived the airport at noon for the 2:40pm flight to Milan but was not airlifted by the airline despite arriving early, adding that when some of the passengers visited the Consumer Protection Department of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to lodge their complaints, they were directed to send emails to the airline to rebook their flight.

The passenger said that the NCAA officials at the airport told them that they would only be airlifted on the March 31, as no arrangement was made for them by the airline, which operates the Lagos-Milan route only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

However, the NCAA said the passengers missed their flight due to lateness.

It explained that the check-in counter was opened at 08:30am and closed at 1pm even though it was supposed to be statutorily closed at 12:30pm.