Wednesday, January 31, 2007

London - flying and back

I am so very happy to say that I got the job applied for and will be returning to London at the beginning of July to start employment as an analyst at an investment bank over there! Very very happy! But ever so knackered. The trip was four days and constituted as much evevnts as two weeks would! But overall had a wonderful time.

This particular post is going to be woven around some thoughts I had regarding airline stewardesses and flying during my time in the air.

As a Sri Lankan person flying a Sri Lankan carrier, you would think that perhaps the air hostesses would be a little nice to their fellow countrymen. Technically each airline is servicing their country and then looking towards foreigners for enhanced business opportunities. This is why a British Airways flight from New York to Frankfurt stops in London and a Qatar Airways flight from Singapore to London stops in Doha on the way. Furthermore, an airhostess is present to attend to the needs of the passengers. Were they not there, we could easily get up, pour ourselves a drink and sit back down. Perform CPR on each other or find our own seats in the aircraft.

But at which point, did the air hostess become someone to appeal to for a glass of water?

What I mean is that, during my flight both to and fro from Sri Lanka and in over the 15 flights I've taken over the past year - I have found the majority of air hostesses to be anything BUT friendly. Flying Sri Lankan airlines, you have to press the little call stewardess button a good 5-10 times before an air hostess waddles past. And even then, she fails to see the light or hear the beep which occurs when the button is pressed. So in the event of desperately needing water, you have to resort to practically tripping the hostess when she passes you by to get her attention. Even then, it is around 7/10 times that you actually get the water you ask for.

I remember asking an air hostess for a pen on one of the flights, and being pleasantly surprised when she actually remembered to bring one for me within the next 15 minutes.

Another most annoying thing is meals. I don't know about you but I find it difficult to fall asleep on flights. After a while, I manage to finally doze off after finding a reasonably comfortable space of 1 foot to sleep in - and I get a hostess prodding me awake - for what? to give me a face towel, or give me a glass of water! (How about giving that glass of water when I asked for it in the first place??) This recent flight, there was a lady sitting across the aisle from me and she was happily sleeping away - when the hostess came about with wet towels, continued to prod her awake till she accepted one. Then the same woman fell asleep again to be awoken to be presented a packet of nuts. Its absolutely ludicrous! Where is the sense in these employees? I spent a good 9 hours without being able to sleep and finally dozed off to be awoken by the hostess asking if she could clear my plate. Obviously if Im asleep and the plate is empty - there is nothing else to do but clear it! Unless I wanted to take home the horrendous souvenir for my maid as how NOT to cook a meal!

To get a smile out of any stewardess is a challenging task. Sri Lankan stewardesses are mostly complimentary and full of smiles for westerners and towards Sri Lankans they carry a most haughty air. In this event, they must be reminded that their job is to provide a comfortable journey from our embarkation point to our disembarkation point regardless of colour, religion, race or job description. In the case of other carriers, specially some noted for their irregular dishing out of smiles, you find that the caucasian air hostesses treat any one other than their fellow caucasians with a hint of condescendedness (if there is such a word). Again, if you don;t like serrving people this really isn't the job for you!

But at the same time, I must remember some of the lovely air stewardesses and stewards I've met on my travels. Because of their grumpy counterparts, their optimistic and friendly outlook is further enhanced and remembered with fondness. A flight is a gruelling journey, especially for those on cattle class. And regardless of income, some people choose to travel cattle class since it seems a bit ridiculous to spend extravagant amounts of money on just 11 hours of flying time. Therefore, it is upto airlines to ensure that their employees are trained to be courteous, full of common sense and people who love their jobs. Otherwise, it is us who begins to hate travelling!

1 comment:

Blublood said...

Ever so knackered? I like that for some reason...It sounds like fun!!!

I love travel and you know that already. I actually like flying except for the take off and landing parts. Stewardess' for the most part are all uptight but there are the select few that make your day. I can't sleep on the plane because I am an aggressive sleeper sometimes and cannot get comfortable in that 1 foot you spoke of.

It's all good Rane, later...