Observations about JAL….

First, an update from my Manila trip last week.  The visit went very well! There was no flood damage anywhere I went, and the hotel and office operated completely as normal. Thank you so much to everyone who gave me advice! I also managed to make it out to Green Hills (the famous shopping area in Manila) and got some gorgeous turquoise and citrine jewelry. Although the ridiculous amount of travel time in five days did take its toll, and I came home sick. Boo.

During this trip, I flew from DFW to Tokyo Narita on American, and then from Tokyo to Manila on JAL. I have flown this route before, but for some reason this time I noticed some things on JAL for the first time. First of all, when it’s time to board, all of the gate agents bow, in unison, as they open up boarding. It was refreshing–I felt like a guest, as opposed to freight. To add to the feeling, as our plane was taxiing out, the baggage people lined up outside the plane, bowed, and waved. I know it’s just a little thing, but it made me feel very special. Of course, coach is still coach regardless of airline, with its cramped seats and awesomely sub-par food, but at least I felt warm and fuzzy for a few minutes.

The next thing I noticed was that when it was time to land, the flight attendants walked down the aisles testing each and every overhead compartment. Not just brushing their hand along it like I’ve seen before, but several seconds pushing and testing each one. Made me wonder if they’ve had an issue with them opening at an inopportune time previously?

Finally, in the most of flights I’ve been on, when the plane lands and that fasten seatbelt sign goes off, people jump up. But as they are filing out of the plane, the vast majority of people will wait politely for those in the rows ahead of them to get up and walk out. On this flight (Manila to Tokyo), people jumped up, and then practically ran out. If you didn’t stand up immediately, you had to wait until there was a break in traffic to get up. And there wasn’t a break in traffic until practically everyone was off the plane. I have never seen anything like it before! I don’t know if it’s because it was a long-ish (5 hour) flight, or if it’s a Japan Air thing, or what. It just seemed very interesting and not what I expected. Anyone have any insight?


  1. Not wanting to sound discriminatory, but it’s an Asian thing. They all want to exit the plane as quickly as possible.

  2. It’s not unique to Asia, or those from Asian backgrounds – it’s the norm here in Australia. Everyone wants off the plane as fast as possible. The only difference is most people will yield to those in front of them.

  3. i don’t recall the jump up and exit thing on any of the flights to/from asia, but i’m probably one of those who jumps up to make sure i get my overhead stuff before people bigger/taller than me crowd my space!

    i do love how the japanese all politely bow. we did a bus tour of hokkaido a few years ago, and all the hotel staff at each place would bow and wave as our bus left for the next destination.

  4. I was on an Air New Zealand flight to AKL sitting in the aisle seat with two Korean ladies in the window & middle seats. When the plane landed, they almost climbed over the top of me to get their stuff.

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