I had to make a quick trip abroad last week and travelled Air India on one of their long range flights. I have travelled with them before and was quite apprehensive about the service and courtesy of the crew. My expectations were rock bottom and as usual they did not disappoint.
However, this time around I understood why their service and attitudes are below par. It has a lot to do with the passengers they manage and the stress they undergo each time they fly.
I was seated near the front row where there is a provision for a bassinet (baby cot) for infants. This needs to be booked earlier and the passenger has to buy an infant ticket for the kid. There were 4 baby cots and 8 infants in our wing. No sooner had we settled than a free for all broke out between the haves and the have-nots even though the have-nots had not bought infant tickets or booked the bassinet. Some of them offered to “pay more” and the arguments delayed take off by about 20 minutes. The best was the parents of a 3 year old wanted to know why larger cots could not be provided for bigger kids!
When the dust had settled we were onto the safety demonstration. I recall at least three groups of persons screaming in the middle that they wanted to change seats to be with their friends and relatives.
Once the plane took off, the cabin crew was being summoned every 10 seconds on some pretext or another. If that was not enough we had a drunk in the rear of the aircraft who chose an opportune moment to regurgitate a sample of what he had consumed over his neighbours. Fortunately for me I was seated far enough to be away from the mess and near enough for a ring side view!! (The same guy was hollering about 5 hours later on why he could not be served his daily dose.
The effect of this definitely told on the crew. A few classics from the air hostesses…
One of them was having difficulty in shutting the overhead bins and I offered to help. While thanking me she had to add “The limit for cabin baggage is 7 kgs and see how much these guys (a euphemism for the word actually used) stuff in their bags. What do they think; we are weight lifters or what?”
Another classic was when a first time traveler seated on the row behind me asked help to unfasten the seat belt. The response was “You are worse than children; why did you not pay attention during the safety demonstration?”
Another time, on another flight I would have been far more critical of the crew but this time I thought that by all counts we passengers got what we deserved.
Just think about it , if this is what the Air India cabin crew goes through every day, little wonder that they are hassled jumpy and rude most of the time. When you want to take you must be willing to give. Bad behaviour and failure to respect others only provokes rudeness
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