Fatima Maada Bio, first lady of the Sierra Leone

Yesterday (June 28th 2022), I checked in to fly out from Paris to Guinea via Sierra Leone. After sitting in the flight for 2 hours, we were asked to move from that plane because it was faulty. Thank God we didn’t have a situation after we had flown and we were up in the air.

Fast forward; we moved in to another plane. We sat in there for another 2 hours only for the pilot to then announce that we could not travel any longer because the crew has gone over their time.

They asked everyone to leave the plane with no other explanation.

As if that was not enough maltreatment, things then got even worse for the passengers.

Women with children were left roaming the airport not knowing what to do and there was no one from Air France to help them.

People in wheelchairs were crisscrossing the Terminal to find a place to rest and there was no one from Air France to help them.

To make matters the worst, no one was allowed to take back their suitcases. So if you had your life-saving medication in your suitcase, as far as Air France was concerned, you can die for all they care.

A crew of 12 people who did not travel or do anything can go on to ground more than 150 passengers and then treat them in a very inhumane manner – in my view, it is because the passengers are Africans.

When will Air France understand that we(Africans) are their biggest customers in terms of pricing of flights?

Africans pay the highest sums to travel to Africa but Air France puts Africans in inferior planes all the time.

We are treated like criminals at many European airports and this is especially so in France.

We are given the worst Terminals to travel from – like dogs.

Even in the VIP Lounges, the food they present to us, is only fit for prisoners.

My advice to African Heads Of State is that they should engage the Management of Air France and demand better treatment for our people. We are not slaves any longer so Air France should remove that mentality of superiority from their selfish selves. Air France should know that no African country will ever be taken to again go under colonisation by France as their slaves.

So after the abysmal treatment yesterday, we are now going to try our luck today with the flight; Hopefully we will today finally succeed to go home.

Air France, change your bad ways because we are now watching you – we are watching Air France keenly.

Written by Fatima Maada Bio, first lady of the Sierra Leone