An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Continental Airlines flight: Non-Stop from Newark to New Delhi – my experience

I just came back from a visit to India which was very interesting in many ways.

To start off – I took the Non-Stop Continental Airlines flight from Newark to New Delhi (roughly 14 hours). Let me tell you right off the bat that I am an Elite One-pass member and have had this status for almost last 5-6 years on the trot. So, I do travel Continental quite a bit and enjoy their service as well! But this Non-Stop flight was a real ad experience in terms of service – I honestly felt that the Airlines had reserved their ABSOLUTELY WORST crew members world-wide for this flight!! The flight attendants were any thing but warm and polite! It was a chore and almost an embarrassment to just ask for a glass of water! The flight attendants regularly – both ways – “shoved” the meal packets on the tray tables instead of putting it down or handing it to you!

The people were discouraged to even stand up and move about – which is just not acceptable on such a long flight! I did get to talk to a few other passengers and the feeling was reciprocated by them too!

It seemed that Continental Airlines approaches international travel services from the viewpoint of a domestic airlines – cost cutting etc. For example, it is very common on other Airlines, say Air France, Air India, Malaysian Air etc – to have a tray full of water and juice at the back of the plane for anyone who might want to drink to keep hydrated on such a long journey. None here! And as I said you had to be a tough person to even ask for it!

I have not been on other flights of an American company – so, I kept wondering if it was just the case with COntinental or is it the “Ugly American” phenomenon? Generally, I feel Europeans act racist in their own country .. but are more friendly outside their own. Americans, by contrast, are very friendly folks within their own broders – but VERY nauseatingly racist outside. I have seen evodence of this while travelling to South America and to Europe on many occasions.

The only two good things about the flight were – short duration and the food – which was fairly good. If other major world airlines follow suit.. then Continental will really have to improve their service standards MANY NOTCHES up!

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