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Cargo mishap with Ethiopian causes social media stir

Cargo mishap with Ethiopian causes social media stir

A desperate call for help by a woman in Lilongwe, Malawi over a wedding dress on behalf of her award winning journalist brother – Hopewell Chin'ono, CNN African journalist of the Year award recipient, who most recently produced a documentary on mental illness in Zimbabwe – and her soon to be sister-in-law over a shipment that was brought in from Hong Kong, but stranded in Addis Ababa for several days, resonated across social media this week.

Her appeal on twitter and Facebook yielded a quick reaction from Ethiopian Airlines. However, Siku Nkhoma has sent warning for others not to face the same consequences and knows their rights before using the services of certain airlines.

“My sister-in-Law is getting married this Friday and her dress is stuck at Addis since 27th of June,” she wrote on July 3. “Help me guys so that Ethiopian Airlines adds it on their morning flight to LLW,” she tagged local newspapers and Fitusm Arega, the chief-of-staff to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD).

Her appeal on Twitter was re-tweeted 77 times and garnered the attention of activists and fellow travelers who called the airlines and vowed to pressure Africa’s most successful airline.

The Reporter reached out to the public relations department of Ethiopian, which confirmed the case on the day the posting went viral. “We are working with the clients so that the shipment would be delivered on Thursday before the wedding,” said Biniyam Demisse, public relations officer with the airliner.

Siku confirmed to The Reporter that the shipment was indeed delivered on Thursday, on the eve of the wedding but had warnings for others and an advice to Ethiopian.

“Unaccompanied cargo has a ‘non-priority status,’ as priority is for passengers and their luggage, Siku said. “Unfortunately, Ethiopian doesn’t communicate to its booking agents, in our case in China. So payment is taken without being told there is no certainty on when the goods will be released.”

“My appeal to the airliner is to stop taking any cargo to countries like Malawi where they don’t have a dedicated cargo service,” she added.