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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

More Indian than you think Lufthansa

It was 2012 and I was booked to travel in a Lufthansa all Business class flight to Munich from Dubai on my way to Stockholm capital of Sweden to attend the European society of medical oncology annual conference .
Though I had traveled in business class flights several times this was the first time I was going to be in an exclusively Business only class provided by Lufthansa and I was looking forwards to the trip .

My wife was also coming to the meet with me but had booked an Emirates Airlines flight to London and was coming from London to Stockholm,
So we parted at the airport gates in Dubai and I was near gate of Lufthansa departure ,

Suddenly I got a phone call from my wife who told me she had been asked for an UK Visa as she had to transit in London ,she  did not apply for one as it was only transit but it seems there was a new rule even for a transit Indians needed a visa if in London which we both felt was absurd and unfair as we were not informed of this earlier ,by this time I was repeatedly asked by the  Lufthansa ground staff to kindly board the flight immediately as most passengers had got in !

My wife told me to  carry on and that she would try to get another flight via Europe if not she would cancel her trip !!

We had already planned to go on a days trip to Norway as my wifes cousin was there and now it looked all our plans had gone awry ,I was very upset at the turn of events and getting into the much awaited plush aircraft and settling down to a comfortable seat never registered on me ,I was sour and glum .
Soon the hostess turned up and gave us hot towels refreshing soft drinks and had come around asking for our choice of drinks ,though I did sip a wine my mood was definitely not in it .
There was a very Teutonic looking young steward and since I just had to open up I asked him which other flights were possible to reach Stockholm if one couldn't go through London and trying to tell my grievance but he was so gruff in answering that he did not know and just walked off ,

I was shocked and angry at his behavior which I felt was positively rude and as I was already sad this literally brought me to tears ,I was furious and wanted to have a show down immediately with what I thought a most arrogant uncouth staff who  was racist  in his behavior .

But somehow Indians have always been to taught to step back when in anger and never take decisions and i knew from past experience that this was always a wise move so I just kept quiet though very angry and very hurt .
I managed to just nibble the delicious  food and when the hostess asked me if I wasnt well i just nodded as I was fed up with all of them .
After a tired nap I woke up
it was already late night and I had to use the toilet and when I reached near the toilet I found the steward and other hostesses talking in the pantry ,I felt I should tell what I had in my mind and  find out why he behaved in that manner   ,
I felt I deserved an answer so in a very calm tone I asked him why he behaved so when I had just asked him a legitimate question ,he looked confused and said oh sorry sir didn't mean so and I just left it and cam back to my seat .
I thought and finally he just ended it with a sorry mouthed !

After some time I was again drifting off to sleep  when I felt the steward sliding into the empty seat next to mine

sir I am extremely sorry to have behaved so I really was terribly busy which isnt an excuse to have behaved so please tell me your problem  let me see in what way I could help you which is the least I can do for you !
so I told him all that happened he again apologized and said I understand sir let me see what I can find out for you ,after some time he came back and told me that my wife could get a flight via Amsterdam if she could speak with Emirates and once again sat with me for a long time listening all I had to say .

of course things did work out as my wife could get alternate flights without much loss and we did make our trip to Norway as planned and my Lufthansa steward did give me the  peace of mind by his concern and all ended well .

It was my Indian nature that helped me to  not react when angry immediately and it also made me realize that ones perception of another could be colored by misconceptions and the steward turned to be a very concerned and sympathetic young man instead of being a racist I thought him to be .
when I heard of Lufthansa now going the Indian way i was reminded of this incident and I only feel more happy as Lufthansa staff would only do better as they are always concerned and caring .

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