Tuesday, April 14, 2009

International Flying - A cultural essay

As I am an expat from Sweden and working on a sometimes International level, I have done a fair share of flying back and forth from Japan, primarily from Japan to Europe and some parts of Asia and I have sampled most airlines available and have come to the conclusion that nowhere in the world do you see cultural traits as clearly as when you try to order a double whiskey on an airplane. Let me give you a sample of what I have found to be the general trend:

Japan Airlines

Mr. Salaryman: Could I please have a double whiskey?
Stewardess: Certainly Sir. (5 minutes later the drink arrives)

Air France

Mr. Salaryman: Could I please have a double whiskey?
Stewardess: (looks down on me with no response and walks on doing whatever she's doing)
Mr. Salaryman: (After waiting 5 minutes a bit confused, calls the attendant button and after a further 5 minutes the stewardess comes around) Excuse me, I ordered a double whiskey a little while back?
Stewardess: (Clearly annoyed) I know, wait!
(10 minutes later the drink arrives)

SAS (Scandinavian Airlines)

Mr. Salaryman: Could I please have a double whiskey?
Stewardess: (Cheerfully) Oh, but you have been sitting down all this time, haven't you?
Mr. Salaryman: (A bit taken aback) Well, yes...
Stewardess: (Even more cheerfully) Then you go get it yourself and stretch those legs!
Mr. Salaryman: Ok, I will then (gets his triple whiskey)


Mr. Salaryman: Could I please have a double whiskey?
Roughly 2 meter tall Valkyrie Stewardess that must have been the result of a SS breeding program: Yes, please vait a little (15 minutes later drink arrives)

Any US based Airline

(Mr. Salaryman too tired to order a drink after receiving up to 5 security checks on behalf of having dark hair and a beard without a Japanese passport)


Peter said...

lufthansa - it's a stereotype, but it sure is close to the mark. I love to hate flying with them.

Nor-Cal Nikkei said...

Definitely go with Japan Airline whenever you can!


mameha said...

I also hate Lufthansa:

"Sorry, your bag is 50 grams over the limit, you have to empty your suitcase now in front of everyone and then carry stuff on as hand luggage"

Personally I like Singapore Airlines and JAL. KLM are also not bad.

lina said...

I like JAL too. :)

Mr. Salaryman said...

Yeah, JAL and/or ANA is the way to go if possible! I also have a love-hate relationship to Lufthansa (to be compared to my hate-rage relationship to Air France.

ThePenguin said...

What do people have against Air France? They've always worked pretty well for me. Now BA, on the other hand...

I flew SAS for the first time last year - by the looks of it all of the female flight attendants should be nicknamed "Bertha" and the male ones look like gay Abba impersonators. And they charge you after the second drink.

Now if you really want to plunge the depths of the flying experience, try RyanAir, who treat you like cattle and will charge you an extra fee for not using electric cattle prods.

shufuinjapan said...

KLM - pretty good
Lufthansa- crap planes don't even go there, within Europe generally good...as long as pilots or ground staff or flight attendants not on strike
ANA: heaven!!!!
Singapore Airlines: Excellent! I got a cake brought to my seat cause I mentioned at check in counter that my husband and I had just gotten married - actually was hoping for an upgrade...

Anonymous said...

SAS sounds great! Like a caring parent! Also I love the picture. It's like when Asians make a heart shape with their hands together.

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