Friday, May 27, 2005

Travel Notes!

I enjoy travelling and be it in a bullock cart (admit, that was a few years ago), harassing the road traffic with my driving skills, taking dad's bike for a spin or the long & 20 hour conversation with my soul called, aircraft travel; i have always enjoyed it. Maybe that comes from Amma, who would plan for a good 6 week trip during my childhood days to her sister's places and the endless prep for travel is something that i look forward always. A disclaimer though is that unlike Amma, i dont plan for travel till the final seconds of the 11th hour. There is fun in there too!

The Boston to Franfurt flight was crowded beyond my comfort zone (that means, every single seat was taken & my strategy of asking for the last seat didn't work good. Apart from having someone in there, you lose the pocket size recline that the coach class offers you) and when i walked to the gate in Franfurt, my spirit soared when there were too few people from the Boston flight. I was counting of a repeat from my March travel, when the plane was nearly empty. I was so wrong, by 0900 - there was a huge crowd and the only good thing was that there were only 2 of us, across 3 seats and that gave an opportunity to unload some stuff in the vacant seat

Talking of travel, a few examples of the lack of aircraft etiquettes/consideration for others displayed by a few countrymen
  • There was this young guy, about my age sitting behind me who used his knees to prevent me from reclining. What's more, it was quite intentional as the more force, i used to try and push back, the more resistance it would meet up with. More so, when i turned a couple of times to have a word with him - very disgustingly! he would pretend to sleep and that forced me to stay upright the entire journey. I have definetely heard this happening with a couple of more people with the culprit usually being my countrymen!
  • Getting drunk & high in a party is something that i don't feel right & if someone does that in the flight, it get much worse. Also, the requests for more alcohol was accompanied by request for more food, in a tone that was anything but a request.
  • Even a request to the cabin crew, was not accompanied by a thanks or a cordial smile. I wonder how many of the cabin attendants like coming over to India
  • As remarked earlier, the rush to de-plane is baffling. There is atleast a 10 min queue at immigration and another 15 min wait for baggage and hence cannot understand standing over someone, typically couple with kids or elder couples, and rushing to get out. Please, engagement with the President/PM if any, can also wait for a couple of minutes
  • Baggage; while i am guilty of it first time, i have made a consious decision during the last 3 trips. Just because you are allowed one hand luggage and a lapto doesn't mean you can have a small suitcase, a laptop, a video camera, a leather jerkin, a couple of bags from shpping on the flight/intermediate stops. There is only so much space in the passenger area for hand luggage!

It might take Indians sometime to get used to relaxed travelling on aircrafts, and till then they would continue to be quite a burden on their fellow travellers in dealing with queer habits

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