Arriving and departing Lagos Murtala Mohammed Airport is not recommended for the first time visitor to Lagos without assistance arranged in advance.  When you arrive, be sure to have contact information for the person who will be meeting you.  Bring a fully charged mobile telephone with roaming privileges in Nigeria.  Bring telephone numbers for your contact and also for your Consulate. Bring your international vaccination certificate as you may be asked to provide proof of Yellow Fever innoculation upon your arrival in Nigeria or when arriving in another country after departing Nigeria.  If you will be met at the airport by someone you do not personally know, they should know some of your personal details and provice identification you can check.  Remember that anyone can copy a sign held by anyone else so make sure that you are departing the airport with the right person! Do not assume that your hotel will provide a pickup/dropoff service just because you read so on the internet.  Confirm the service in advance before arriving.

Murtala Mohmanned Airport was infamous in the 1990’s for being lawless and almost nonfunctional. The government has made significant improvement in the infrastructure and procedures since then.  There are signs throughout the airport warning travelers not to pay money to any airport personnel (or those claiming to be airport personnel).  That will not stop some from trying to demand bribes anyway.  Be polite but firm. Be sure to have your checked baggage tags with you when picking up your baggage, they will be inspected.

 

The domestic and international terminals share runways and are located closely together on the tarmac.  However, passenger travel between one and the other is approximately five kilometers and the airport does not provide an internal shuttle.

 

There is a swarm of taxi drivers, money changers, beggars, etc. just outside the terminal door.  Foreign currency exchange may or may not be available in the airport but using the money changers outside the door is risky for a variety of reasons.  Travel by taxi is risky, and can be very risky for the inexperienced foreigner.  Ask to see a taxi license and negotiate the price before climbing into a taxi. Unfortunately, Lagos is not one of those cities you can safely pick just any cab at the airport due to security concerns.

 

You can take a taxi within short distance to get a helicopter service that runs from Ikeja directly into the heart of Victoria Island.

 

When arriving or departing there are several decent cafes and a few shops with erratic hours.  The departure area does not have standard departure lounges.  Seating is scarce.  Since there are no standard departure lounges, signage for departing flights is non-existent.  There are several departure boards scattered throughout but few (if any) are working at any given time other than in the ticketing area. Expect changes in departure times and gates to occur without notice.  The airport should send a staffer to the original gate around the (new) boarding time to announce the location of the changed gate.  Your best option is to consult your fellow passengers.

 When departing Murtala airport, allow yourself ample time to check in and proceed to your gate.  You will be required to wait in a line for security agents to check every inch of your checked baggage.  This part of check in can take anywhere from 10 minutes to more than an hour, depending upon the number of people at the airport at that time.