Despite the best efforts of the pilot and the ‘admirable’ communication skills of the hindi speaking staff, the Air India flight to Chennai was comfortable, not to mention the inclement weather.
I was expecting an Airbus A 319 short haul flight but was rather pleased to find that it was A-330-200 and hence felt comfortable that the plane was a better deal than A 319 or A 320 – better in handling turbulence.
AI, true to standards, started one hour later. And as soon as it climbed, met with inclement weather which continued for two hours.
Later when the captain announced that he was ‘hoping’ for better weather, dinner was served at 12:00 AM.
Nothing to speak of the dinner menu. They would do better to serve two bananas and a cup of tea – easier to digest and would not cause consternation in children who try hard to decipher what was served.
Hari asked,”What is this meal about ? Can you tell me what it is?”
“I think it is something vegetarian but really not sure what it is”.
“Is this an eatable, I mean, can we eat this?”
“I would think so. I don’t know if it is eatable but definitely it is edible”.
Leave alone what is served, let AI concentrate on what is spoken.
When they announce in Hindi they murmur and when they announce in English, they take part in a fast speaking competition.
I was able to catch some phrases such as ‘Udaan’, ‘Thaapmaan’, ‘Seat Belt’, ‘Krupaya’ and ‘dhanyavaad’ that respectiely meant ‘plane’,’temperature’,’seat belt’, ‘please’ and ‘thanks’.
I believe that Indian flights, both government and private, don’t need better pilots but would need better speakers.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not against Hindi. If you want to say something to the passengers, say them loud. And if you want to whisper among yourselves, don’t switch on the mike. We are unable to find if there is somebody speaking or is it the speaker static.
During the long flight Bharat asked incredulously ,”Appa, why do they whisper over the speakers?”
“They don’t want to disturb those who are sleeping”, I said and continued to decipher what came over the speaker.
“You mean, the pilot who is sleeping?”, he asked.
“I hope not”, I said.
The sum and substance of the story – Air India, please hire Ms.Meira Kumaar, the ‘bait jaayeeyee” person. She would be out of job soon in 2014 after the elections are over.