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?