Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Air hostess, air hostiles!

“They’re not air hostesses, they’re air hostiles!”

And so it began. The journey from Mumbai to Toronto for IIFA 2011.

Air India might not be your airline of choice for the terrible word-of-mouth they’ve got over the years. You almost imagine air hostiles (kinda love that term) flinging shoes at you, refusing as much as a glass of water and pretty much threatening to throwing you out , should you ask them to get you anything. God forbid, THAT’S not their job.

Oh wait, it is! Only no one’s told them.

No such drama on this flight though. I hate to admit it, but this Air India flight is a revelation. But I’ll get to the good part in a bit. Gotta check-in first.

I am greeted by a woman at the counter. Mid forties, usual grumpy -ground staff demeanor with a I-can’t-believe-I’m-still-doing-this written all over her face kinda thing. You get the picture.

“Put your bag with handle upside..so it is easy for me to put tag”

I don’t comply. Quite frankly coz it’s hard to understand someone who’s juggling (what I imagine) to be around half a gallon of spit with a pen, all in the same deep cavity called the human mouth.

“Handle up,” she frowns at this point. Enough to let me know that this woman isn’t going to take too kindly to me listening to Colin Hay while I check in. Ear phones out, she has my full attention by this point.

*indescribable mumble

I now have someone from the IIFA team who’s come to my rescue, put the handle in a position that finds the approval of the check- in lady, who as I now understand must have been am army general in a previous life. She certainly has the talent to say “Here’s your boarding pass” with just about the same ferocity as “I’m gonna kill you, you mother F$%^#ng twat”

“Yes Ma’am”, I say. Partly obeying orders, partly smiling. Partly scared I’ve overstepped rank.

Oddly enough I see a sight most travelers may conclude is mythical. She smiles... and asks me to have a good flight. (it’s still an order, of course.)

And I really do!

I’m unsure of why Air India has such bad press. The flight is great. Service is wonderful. The air hostesses are anything but hostile, in fact if anything at all I might break out into a hugging spree when I’m getting off the plane!They’ve been fantastic. Sure there’s Sridevi (minus make up) walking around with hubby Boney in tow…but I can’t blame Air India for that. Can I now?

I’m lucky to be traveling with someone I’ve known for years but never hung out with. I ran into him literally five and three quarter steps away from the plane and then realized on boarding we’re sitting next to each other. In theory he has potential to be a friend. In practice I wouldn’t know because talking to someone who’s asleep 12 out of 16 hours on a flight usually yields very little result. Believe me, I’ve tried!

Anyway, to a happy trip now. Will keep you guys posted on what’s happening at IIFA 2011. You know where to look for that information.

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