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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Flying with Israelis and with Japanese

Flying from Tel Aviv through Frankfurt to Tokyo this week, I was on two Lufthansa flights on the same day. So same environment: same airline, same crew (not the actual people of course) and same service.

The main difference between the two flights was that most of the passengers on the Tel Aviv-Frankfurt flights were Israelis while most of the passengers on the Frankfurt-Tokyo flight were Japanese. The other difference was the duration of the flight: 3.5 hours for the first flight vs. 10.5 hours for the second.

For the sake of brevity, let's call them the "Israeli flight" and the "Japanese flight" accordingly. Here below are some observations about my experiences on these two flights. Keep the above differences in mind and draw your own conclusions:

  • On the Israeli flight, 10 minutes after the "boarding completed" announcement (i.e. all passengers on board) was made, people were still fumbling with their bags and standing in the aisles. On the Japanese flight, everybody was seated.
  • Throughout the Israeli flight, except for take-off and landing (first and last 20 minutes of the flight), most of the aisles and the area near the galleys were blocked by people standing and talking to each other. On the Japanese flight, the aisles were free throughout the flight except for the occasional person hurrying to/from the bathroom.
  • The one time I needed the bathroom on the Israeli flight I had to wait in line for 5 minutes. The three times I needed the bathroom on the Japanese flight I never waited.
  • The bathroom I frequented on the Israeli flight had paper towels on the floor and the toilet was not flushed by the previous user(s). The bathrooms I used on the Japanese flight were spotless (there might have been some water drops near the basin, I'm not sure).
  • I sat near the galley (exit row on both flights). Throughout the Israeli flight I kept hearing the "ping" sounds that warn the flight attendants that someone pushed the call button. I never heard one "ping" on the Japanese flight.
  • As the plane was approaching the gate, and upon hearing the pursar utter the words "flight attendants, all doors in park", almost all passengers on the Israeli flight jumped from their seats and dove for the overhead compartments to fetch their bags. Needless to say, the "fasten seat belts" sign was still on. On the Japanese flight nobody moved before the "fasten seat belts" sign was off.

As I said, draw your own conclusions...


Anonymous said...

As an ex-flight attendant, I have drawn my conclusions a looooong time ago :)

Doug said...

My wife is an Israeli who has lived in America for 15 years. When we go back to visit family, this and many other things drive her crazy.

It would probably drive me crazy as well. But since I am in tourist mode, I usually treat it as part of the whole "tourist experience". I just pretend it is a show that is being put on for my entertainment. With that attitude in mind, I do find it pretty amusing.

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Anonymous said...

Draw my own conclusions !
Like er ... Israelis are a bunch of primitive infantile and demanding people ! I know what you feel. I am Israeli too. Just returned from a trip in Holland. People act differently there too. But then after my trip I reread Anna Frank's diary . Her sister, Margot dreamed of being a midwife in Palestine. Tragically she died of Typhus in Bergen Belsen. Had she survived another few weeks her childrem would have been boisterous obnoxious Isrealis today to a zionist midwife granny.
It is not all black and white. I too wish that living in Israel was a more relaxing and cultured experience. I curse Israeli drivers daily and complain endlessly. I find the aggression here the most demanding. On occassion I have raised the idea of leaving with my husband just peace of mind. But we are still here. I think you know why.

Lady-Light said...

okay, truth time: Israelis are pushy, loud and rude. They think only of themselves. If they had just an iota of thought for "the other guy", half the societal problems in Israel would be solved. So what to do? We need to show them by example, how to behave in a civilized society. That flight you describe is a microcosm of a session in the Knesset! But, G-d love 'em anyway-so do I, למרות הכל!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you're right.
Gives me a wonderful warm welcome back to Israel everytime... :P :(

ShirLen said...

I m a flight attendant,fly international routes,studied in japan before,have Israeli boyfriend, clearly know the 'quality' of passengers from differnt nationalities.So happy that you observed the very true facts though you are just a passenger.Japanese people are well educated in discipline and command.In Japanese flight,aircraft is always tidy and clean after landing,.Also less call "ping" for service. Flying in other routes are always tough, which makes Japanese flight are "more welcome" among crew.My trip by EL AL to TLV is always messy, compare to those israelis, foriegner can barely fight with them, they are "well trained" to be rude to you, "well trained" to jump into queue.

Anonymous said...

Well, all true enough, but it's also true that to compare Japanese and Israelis is to compare extremes. The Japanese are known worldwide as being considerate, civilised, polite people. We Israelis, not so much ;)

Unknown said...

Well, all true enough, but it's also true that to compare Japanese and Israelis is to compare extremes. The Japanese are known worldwide as being considerate, civilised, polite people. We Israelis, not so much ;)

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