On Thursday, Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad roughed-up an Air India staffer after making a fuss about having had to fly economy class, rather than business class. The MP’s behaviour just amplified the problems Indian flyers cause —we dirty toilets, pinch stewardesses and display a crude sense of behaviour.
Airline crews, in fact, try to avoid the route if they can. Ingrained as we are with the ‘paisa vasool’ attitude, we are also highly demanding, say airline staffers.
Molly Truitt, a Quora-user who describes herself as a flight attendant with Delta Airlines, says Indian passengers are very demanding, and at times rude and impatient.
She recounts one of her flying experiences when the captain asked everyone to take their seats due to bad weather and she could not serve an Indian passenger.
“I explained to him what the captain said and was moving forward to sit down when he asked me to get him a glass of water. I explained to him again what the captain said and that for my safety I needed to take my seat. He continued to say “You need to get me a glass of water, other passengers got theirs. I purchased it with my plane ticket. I expect my service.”
Truitt says she apologised but asserted she must follow the captain’s orders and take her seat.
“I sit down, we land and he walks off the plane and complains to the flight leader that I am racist because I didn't get him his water that he paid for,” says Truitt.
Crudeness is another problem flight crew have to deal with. One example of it is soiled or blocked toilets. Quora user, Nuralia Mazlan, who claims to have worked for two airlines, says she has had “colourful” experiences with Indian passengers.
She bluntly states that “those who can’t speak proper English, do not know how to behave accordingly and appear like this is just like their home, barefooted everywhere and appear nonchalantly undisturbed by on-board etiquette.”
She goes on to make an outrageous assertion: “In certain cases, (they) think the lavatory comes with a view, (and) thus they will try to open aircraft door thinking it is the toilet.”
Interestingly, Indians themselves have shown that they cannot stand misbehaviour during a flight and would like to confront things directly, though most prefer to address things through official channels. A 2017 Flight Etiquette study by Expedia, an online travel company, shows 69 per cent would alert the flight attendant directly and ask them to handle a passenger who is misbehaving while 30 per cent said they would confront the passenger directly.
High up on the list that Indian flight passengers find annoying are people (children mostly) who kick one’s seat from the (henceforth called rear-seat kickers), heavy drinkers and loud talkers. But they’re forgiving of flirting singles and amorous couples.