I enjoy flying, especially since, for many years now, I have been blessed to get free business-class tickets. The silence inside and the quiet hum of the engines give me time to pull myself together.
The PAL flights to the West Coast are most comfortable as they are straight flights and one can sleep undisturbed. The Pinay stewardesses are some of the most gracious and caring in the world. However, I should say that most Pinoy workers are like them.
Two years ago, I had the joy of flying on Qatar Airlines. Since I have difficulty walking, I am normally wheeled all the way into the cabin. By the way, I am an “OA” (overacting) traveler: I bring along too much with me—hand trolley, computer bag, big handbag, makeup set.
At that time, the young Pinoy man who pushed my wheelchair was energetic, happy and insisted on carrying everything; he also wheeled me right into the cabin, right beside my seat. I gave him P250 and he was thrilled.
In Qatar, I was assisted by a Ceylonese. He put my trolley in between my legs, my computer bag on the side of the wheelchair and my handbag on my lap.
When we arrived in Rome, I was told I would have to climb down the stairs as the galley lift wasn’t working and that the wheelchair would be waiting on the ground.
So I was wheeled into the arrival area and had to wait almost 30 minutes. By that time, the area was already devoid of passengers. The only persons there were myself and the female security guard.
Finally, a lady in a vinyl jacket came up, but when she saw all my hand luggage, she started to complain loudly and told the guard that her job was to push my wheelchair and not have anything to do with my luggage.
Therefore, I was to pay for a trolley, push it—and she would push the empty wheelchair!
I was given no choice.
Three different races, three different attitudes.
But in the end, the arrogance of the Romans won over.