Sunday, 29 May 2011


There is a recent ad that is a telling commentary on the disgraceful hurry that we, as Indians, show whilst getting out of the aircraft on landing. So, even when the air hostess is requesting people to remain seated until the aircraft comes to a complete stand-still or not to open overhead lockers, any number of people are already vying to get a head start over others. This is an exact replica of people waiting at the traffic lights or at railway crossings; the farthest away wanting to be the first ones to cross.

Recently, we have tried to do up our airport terminals. Some of these, like Delhi and Hyderabad, have become really good. You would like to soak in the displays and just relax waiting for your flight. But, nay, an endless volley of announcements would keep you from relaxing or even concentrating on your newspaper. Some of these are deliberately made loud and piercing so that Mr ABC, for whom half a dozen "last and final calls" have been made, would miraculously make his way towards the aircraft so that the aircraft can take off within an hour of its scheduled departure, which is the nearest we can come to an on-time departure.

Once in the aircraft, since you have opted for a reclining isle seat, you would think that there would be respite from announcements. It is not to be. The very reason they ask you to shut down all electronic devices is that after hours, you will still not have time for yourself. You should constantly be paying attention to everything that the cabin crew and the Captain have to say to you.

Enough of announcements? No, with my experience of having been a "guest" at various domestic flights, and keeping in mind the conduct of the fellow passengers, I feel that following announcements may be added to the existing ones. All these are based on actual incidents:
  • We told you that in case you need anything you shouldn't hesitate to press the overhead call button. However, please remember there is no need to test it every now and then. Also, please don't let children play with the button.
  • Please don't throw the orange peel on the floor, especially in the aisle.
  • Please don't go to the pantry to pick things on your own. We confirm to you that it does not help the cabin crew.
  • Conversing with people three rows behind you or in front may disturb other passengers.
  • Jackets/pouches in fronts of your seats are specific for each seat. Please ask the person directly behind the pouch before reaching out to take magazines and newspapers or even headphones from the pouch.
  • Please refrain from playing transistors, portable music players, and cell-phone music without headphones.
  • Holding hands of couples across the aisle may hamper movement of other passengers. We are sorry for the inconvenience caused.
  • Whilst sitting down and getting up, please don't jerk back the seat in front of you with great force especially when refreshments have been served.
  • Please avoid putting legs on the seat in front of you even if your feet don't smell. If your feet or socks do smell, please don't take out your shoes. If you are not sure whether they smell, assume that they do.
  • Spread your newspapers, magazines etc in such a way that they don't hamper the other passengers especially if they are watching in-flight entertainment.
  • The flight is only about one hour forty minutes or so. Hence, you don't have to stretch your legs in the aisle or walk briskly up and down.
  • Isle seat does not give you the right to spread your legs in the aisle especially when the air hostesses are serving meals.
  • Please avoid sneezing when the person sitting next to you is being served coffee.
  • Please remember that toilets are to serve the needs of other passengers too.
  • If you are fond of singing, please pass your visiting card around to passengers around you so that they can come to your office or home to listen to your performance. Your talents are wasted in the aircraft.
  • When you find an overhead locker full, please don't start re-adjusting the entire locker to make space for your box of mangoes. This will keep the other passengers from reaching their seats.
  • It won't help if you vent on the cabin crew your unhappiness over the flight having been delayed.
  • Please don't insist on speaking personally to the Captain of the aircraft if you want to air your grievance about the service in the aircraft. Someone has to fly the aircraft too.
  • Each flight carries a limited number of pillows and blankets; and certainly not one per passenger.
  • We would appreciate if you can finish the coffee/tea/water poured in your cup rather than giving these back to the cabin crew when they come to collect the trays.
  • If you have your baggage in a locker far behind you, it would be better to let other passengers already in the aisle to disembark before venturing your way against the general flow of people. Please bear with us that the total time taken from first to last passenger is never more than five minutes.
Thank you; it was a pleasure (we are great liars) having you on board and we look forward to being given an opportunity to serve you again (like a hole in the head).

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