As ya might tell from the headline, I didn’t get a chance to test the bandwidth at Narita Airport in Tokyo. Japan Airlines had overbooked and somehow miraculously managed to only call out non-citizens of Japan to tell is we could either swim or take an earlier flight on a somewhat younger airline that left for Chicago two hours earlier.
Since this cut my layover in Tokyo by half, and gave me more time to connect at O’Hare – I opted to be treated like steerage – but only after gladly accepting some compensation for my hassles.
Still, I found the selection and ways in which only we ‘Westerners’ were politely but painfully endurerd … and selectively bumped … consistent with how most ‘gaijin‘ (a term I heard used in reference to me in the pejorative on my NYC to NRT flight) were treated by JAL staff and customers. A treatement I might add that was entirely inconsistent with the genuinely warm, generous and welcoming treatment I received by all other international sectors services industry and general populous in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong …Â … and Jordan a few years back.
I think when I fly back over to Kuala Lumpur next September it will either be on Malaysian or Singapore airlines.
That aside – those praying for my safety – thank you! As I elluded to in my last post, my alert taxi driver to KUL airport managed to bob and weave like a NASCAR driver avoiding a multi-car pile-up as a car in front of us lost control on the wet road … Spinning and sliding across all lanes of traffic before causing some others to brake or ‘break’ … Though my driver managed to miss it all.
Perhaps it was the Malaysian style hip-hop that I found irritating up until I figurerd that qwa one of the factors keeping him up and alert.
That said – though cramped and not as traditionally Japanese in protocol and amenities – I found the staff of ANA polite, attentative and far better at communicating in English than their JAL counterparts… though neither airline had artificiall sweeteners for their coffee.
I just found it a but lonely to fly on an 8 and 11 hour flight seated next to individuals who didn’t speak a luck of English. Good luck to them – especially the culture shock they are sure to receive when greeted at customs and eateries by Hispanic and African American faces. Two cultures I did not see represented at all in Malaysia.
Anyway – it’s good to thumb away again on my BlackBerry while waiting for a plane.
More travel tips in a day or two – just pray this full flight is about to leave.