Indian Passengers: A Rant

Yep, that’s exactly what it is. A rant. Go on ahead, regardless of whether you’re a guilty passenger or a curious one.

How many times have you looked at an air hostess walk past you in the airport and envied them, wishing you could have their lifestyle? How often have you met an air hostess on board and tried to figure out ways to get in touch with her later? Hoping to get to know her, maybe date her, be a part of her life. Well, let me now tell you all the reasons why you wouldn’t want any of that :))

Being an air hostess in India is definitely one of the most ungrateful jobs to have. It is true that we are paid well, we get to stay in nice hotels in various cities, we party like the world is coming to an end. But it all comes at a hefty price. Our respect.

While you might be someone who looks at us in awe or envy, there are about a hundred others who look at us only with lust. They look at our uniform, and at what little skin is visible, and they behave with us like we’re there selling our bodies. There are guys who, the moment they step on board and we greet them, give us a thorough once-over, even as we are looking straight at them and smiling. Every time that happens, I instantly get this urge to cover myself, as if I’m standing there naked.

I’m not here to say that we should not be checked out. Because let us face it, that is exactly the reason airlines look for a certain kind of physique or looks when they hire crew. Our appearances are a major part of the job, no doubt. It is a part of the air travel experience itself. When somebody travels by air, they expect to be greeted and served by pretty dolls in short clothes.

All I am saying is that even if you do it, at least have the decency to not do it when we’re looking. At least we won’t end up feeling like sexual objects you’d pounce on, any time.

On the other hand, though, the stares that you give us during boarding turn to complete ignorance when we start our food service. We push our carts from one row to another, and most of you don’t even have the courtesy to look at us and say no, thank you. I’m really very curious, how does anyone continue looking straight ahead with no flicker of acknowledgement on their face, when somebody comes up to them and asks if they want anything?

And then there’s the all too famous Indian temperament. So much self-pride and haughtiness I’ve seen on passengers on board, they get offended for the most unassuming, small things. Like, say, politely denying to keep your bag in the overhead bin. I mean, look at yourself, you are a man taller and clearly stronger than me, and you want me to place your bulky bag up there? And then what, break my shoulders and back? If I were to start a list of people who’ve damaged their backs because of this very reason, it could go on and on. I know crew who have left their jobs because their backbones got severely damaged.

It is neither a part of our job, nor is it a requirement for us to keep your bags for you. The most we can do is assist you. You cannot just leave the bag on the aisle and go to your seat, expecting us to do your work for you. We are there to serve you alright, but that doesn’t make us your servants. At least not the Indian prerogative of how servants are seen.

You, the one reading this, please tell me from a passenger’s perspective, if it is really too much to expect basic courtesies from you at 35,000 ft in the air, where we work to provide you the best service possible, while being responsible for your safety and security at the same time. Are we really that small and beneath you for that? Would you only thank us and recognise our work if something drastically goes wrong and we save your life? Is that the eye-opener that you need to start respecting us for what we do?

Every job comes with its own set of challenges and situations, and I’m just talking about mine. I’m not trying to play it out to be worse or better than yours or anybody else’s. This is just an honest narrative of what goes on in my mind every day, every flight.

Disclaimer: These views are mine, and mine only. They do not represent the views of my company or colleagues in any way.

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