martes, 28 de diciembre de 2010

Clapping on landings

For the past couple of months, I have been describing some of the similarities between Mexicans and Lebanese, but this weekend I literally felt at home. Which is weird, since I was flying from Istanbul to Beirut, but home is where one feels it, right?

There are some "realities" in airports about my fellow Mexicans, that I must say, I get a bit embarrassed about. Call me a snob, but when you are boarding a direct flight from JFK to Mexico City a week before Christmas, you will know exactly what I am talking about.

Well, guess what? The Lebanese flying from Istanbul are exactly the same. It made me feel slightly relieved to see that Mexicans are not the only ones beautifully rude on airplanes.

Some of the commonalities I see are:

1. The fly attendant calls people in zone 1 to board the plane. Everyone is trying to get ahead in 2 or 3 lines (one official, 2 unofficial), or stands very close to the gate entrance, no matter what zone they are in.

2. The number of packs that people are carrying is definitely more than one. And they clearly do not fit in the little "see if your carry-on fits in here" sign.

3. When you get to your aisle seat, there will inevitably be someone seating already there. The person will a) look at you and then offer a million apologies or b) pretend s/he doesn't understand why you have the same seat, and then "realize" s/he is actually in the middle seat or c) act lost and disoriented.

4. The seatbelt sign is completely optional during take off, landing and taxi.

5. If there isn't any room on your overhead compartment, then you can fit one bag on your side, one in front, and one two rows behind you.

6. If you need something from your overhead compartment, you take it, right when you need it. It doesn't matter if the attendant is coming with the meals cart or the person below is asleep (and gets your belly in his/her face).

7. When the plane stops, you run forward, even if that means just advancing a couple of steps, and end all crammed up in awkward positions between two people, one of whom has an arm trapped in the back row.

8. My absolutely favourite one: If the pilot landed the plane, you clap and cheer!!!

Two things I had never seen in a plane before though:

9. The smoking ban apparently doesn't apply to everyone in Lebanon (and you get into a fight with the flight attendant if s/he calls you on it).

10. Flying nannies and body guards come too and must exit before everyone (it must have been a big shot flying on the plane, since 2 rows in economy class were dedicated to the entourage).

1 comentario:

  1. I know just what you mean - also flew via Istanbul this holiday. I guess the other passengers thought the only reason I wasn't ramming the guy in the queue in front of me was so they could run forward and squeeze in - all ten of them. I just love when they applaud - I wonder if they'd boo if he failed to land properly.