May 12, 2009

British Airways is Full of Shit

The Indian Premier League cricket games are going on in South Africa and apparently, even though the teams are owned by Indian millionaires, the Indian players are discriminated against and treated “differently” from the other players, who are mainly British and Australian. The source is one of India's best cricketers, Ajay Jadeja. Read more about it here.

Today, in the news I read that ONLY Indian passengers on an Air France flight were treated very badly. About sixty, yeah SIXTY passengers were made to stay overnight in a SINGLE room due to some technical problem and could not get out while the other passengers (non-Indian) were provided good hotel accommodation. Read the full story here.

Blatant racism is not a myth. It exists, and nowhere more than on international flights. When I fly back home to U.S from India, I usually fly British Airways (because my parents think it's a good “standard” airline) and take my connecting flight at Heathrow airport. The differences between the two journeys never fail to piss me off. Even at the airports, the ground staff are always nicer to the “white” people, very fervent in their “Good MORNING Sir”s and their “Have a GREAT flight, Ma'am”s. When they see Indians, the smile fades, the tone is distinctly rude and the greetings are hurried. Sometimes, just to check, I use my American accent on them. I discard my usual Indian one just to see if I get treated better. And I really really do. Not as much as if my skin was lighter, but definitely a lot better than the unfortunate guy next to me who hesitates as he speaks the unfamiliar English language and wears a turban. He got treated like garbage. Now, you may think that kind of racism is rare but it happens shockingly often. I've seen it, been a subject of it and I boil inside. But I am always polite, no matter what. Because I was brought up better. I delicately ask about a free upgrade to Business class, but am rejected on grounds of “no more available”. I sigh gently as the stoned British hippie behind me asks the same thing and instantly gets it. Could they be more fuckin' obvious? Me and the Sikh guy exchange understanding glances and hang our heads in abject hopelessness.

The plane from India to London is as a rule, dirty. There is no actual garbage thrown around everywhere, but there is a distinct unkempt air. The air hostesses are cold. They offer you drinks maybe once or twice in the entire ten hour flight, and that too, never alcohol. If you didn't know they serve wine in Economy class, you'd never get any because, hey, they never offer. You have to raise your hands and shout a million fuckin' times. When the toilets get smelly, they don't spray enough air freshener. And the food, oh man, this is discrimination at its very shiny best. This time when I went home, on the flight towards London, they served rice and chicken curry. Great, but I eat that ALL the fuckin' time and I want something else. But no, they didn't have any other dish. This is bullshit.

After I changed flights and was on the plane headed to America, however, it was a whole different story. Ma'am, red or white wine? Shepherd's pie or beef lasagna? Cold sandwich anyone? I was spoilt for choice. They pressed juice and snacks on all the passengers and it was a joyful, beautiful atmosphere of sunshine and pleasantness. Chicken or beef? Chicken or beef?.. that is the standard cry during dinner on most international flights. But not on the flight to/from India. In fact, on the flight back to India from Heathrow three weeks later, the situation went from bad to worse. Like, they served the Business class and after a very long time, they announced briefly, “The chicken meals are over, and as a result you will be served vegetarian food”. All I got was a dish of some nasty badly-cooked rice and kidney beans. Rice and beans? Do you know how much I pay to fly in your stupid airline? The SAME fuckin' amount your American friends on your other flights do. Why do you kiss their asses so much? What happened to basic human rights? I hate fuckin' racist people, especially those who are supposed to be providing you a service purely based on money. Come now, the way the British Airways people behave, it's as if they are doing YOU a favor by letting you pay to travel in their shitty, smelly planes. Fuck 'em.

Anyways, the Indian passengers who were treated badly on the Air France flight are planning to take some kind of legal action. I'm all for that. And oh yeah, I'll never take a British Airways flight again. If you are against racism, then you wouldn't either.

18 comments:

Pavitra .... said...

I'm completely with you on this....
I hate racism and I have been subjected to it too....
I had been to sikkim and we were not allowed to shop at a market coz we pay lesser than the firangis who come there...
can you imagine that.....our own people taking their side....
all the indians were shooed out of the area so that these foreigners get to shop in peace....
I showed the fucking shopkeeper the middle finger...
This still angers me.....

[ni] said...

Thats shocking! I wasnt aware racism is so prevalent at that level! I can imagine how it feels to be racially discriminated.

Very well written!

Thanks! Keep writing!

Carl said...

Heck Indians are treated badly on gulf flights too... Especially the orthodox mals with their head bobbing and the real poor guys who for the first time in their lives are heading out of the country... hmmm wish life was like an Emirates flight though... Exquisite...

deluded said...

wow.

i didnt know that it could get so shitty.

the world, is pretty full of shit, but never imagined it like this!

Carl said...

Like I said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6QX1u4K0KI

Chronicwriter said...

sad... i have been at the receiving end of some racist remarks on a couple of occasions but it ended up on a lighter note..

john buchanan should learn a lesson
air france should learn a lesson
british airways should learn a lesson
United should learn a lesson

and some times, we indians learn some lessons too

chriz

Arps said...

wo! that was shocking! i always thought that racism existed just in history books!!
:X
once again, really nicely written post.

Crowscious said...

@ Pavitra: Those fucks won't understand if u show em the middle finger LOL. U should choice cuss words like "behnchudh" on them. Otherwise they won't get it :P
@ Ni : Yes, it's an awful feeling. Oh well, i'm jus gonna suck it up and use another airline
@Carl: Yes Emirates is very good, so is Malaysian Airlines.. great people
@Chronicwriter: The only lesson i really learnt was that some ppl are racist pigs who don't actually have anything to be racist about.
@Arps: I feel there was less discrimination in our history books than there is now. what a sad state!

Hopeless Romantic said...

I am like filled with anger and hatred after reading this post. I hate John Buchannana for allowing this kind of racism in KKR, even though he may not be directly involved in it. I am really angry with SRK, is he that blind, he can't see how he has been milked around. I had high regards for him before this fucking KKR thing happened.

I have lived in US for a Year, Phoenix, Arizona to be exact. And i have seen racist behaviour a lot many times. Arizona is closer to mexico border, so there are lot of mexican immigrants who come in form there, n even they r subjected to racism by asshole americans. Basically, racism comes from their inferioritay complex. They know better brains are working here, more hard working people are here, more innovative and dedicated people are here.and they can't do a damn fuck about it because companies would always go for the best among the rest.

I am glad u brought this on. I myself too wanted to right about racism in a post from a long time. and sorry for writing such a long comment but i couldn't help myself when it comes to ranting on such sensitive topics :)

Cheers,
Amit

Crowscious said...

Dear Amit, it is always better to be angry ONLY at the people who did you wrong and no one else. My family lives in the U.S and to be honest, i don't think any of them have been racially targetted. In high school i was maybe a couple of times, but only in good humor. Racial differences exist and I'm not blind to it. I just hate when people treat you badly when they are supposed to provide you a service. I love American culture, and I'm sure the british culture by itself is pretty awesome. It's just some people, a few bloody idiots, who ruin it for everyone.

Psmith said...

I agree ! 2 years in firangland and Ive seen racism so many many times..

dont get me wrong, many people are nice, but there is enough racism for me to dislike this place and its people quite intensely.

Many times I feel like telling them, be as nasty as you like you uneducated moron, we'll take your jobs, buy your companies and laugh at your country. but then I cool down and see the unending problems our country faces and I realize that I can never be completely free of doubt when staring down a white boor while there are still people hungry in my country.

it is not "me" they sneer at, it is the hungry and naked among my people. and then I hate this place even more.

Mr. Apron said...

Wow. I had no idea this was occurring. I'm just glad when the bloody thing doesn't crash.

The Clandestine Samurai said...

Oh man.....this....this would require a sit-down-and-discuss kind of response. But this is a discussion that you can only have with someone who listens and thinks (I'm by no means saying that that's not you).

Yes, racism is rampant and I furthermore am not really sure that there are many people that exists that don't know this. But the subject takes some deconstruction: what are causes? I mean sure, there are plenty of white people who resort to stereotypes of other races to make it easier for them to encounter someone different then them, but for others, it comes from somewhere specific. No, I'm not at all saying it's the Indians' fault. I'm saying that they have experiences which make them irrationally pigeonhole whole minority races instead of thinking of the experience as individual.

I, as a person of indirect African, Islander, Native American and Brazilian descent, have personally experienced more racism and discrimination from other minorities then from whites. Of course, also from whites. But my point is, racism is in the mind of every color. Sure, whites are the majority and for most part are in power, but that doesn't make racism vengefully safe for minorities to have. A united nation of minorities from all countries could easily overturn this unfair leverage the white nation has. But while idiotic versions of nationalism still exists, I don't think that will happen anytime soon.

Juhi said...

Why is the white man still king even in non-white countries? Even in Dubai, an Emirati or a white gets paid twice what an Indian gets for the same work. And gets treated better. Well, I could digest the Emirati getting privileges in his own country, but why the bloody gora?

In African countries also I hear its the same - Indians getting treated like shit and white men like gods.

I don't know why...I have no answers...

One Man’s Opinion said...

First of all, love the title. Direct and to the point. Racism is alive and well in this great world of our, regardless of the color of our president. Nice post

As the Mind Meanders said...

I have traveled by BA and haven't yet been treated badly. But may be I am lucky. But BA apart, racism does exist and it is not always very obvious.

My expectation is that it might just, temporarily, get a little worse over the next few years. And this, while it will take a face of racism, will be the developed worlds effort to resist / deny the change, as we move into a more powerful position of strength. Then, I expect, the situation to reverse. We will see more white skinned people working off our shores. Amen to that.

As the Mind Meanders said...

An yes... crow... you write well...

Ketan said...

This was eye-opening! But all the while, I was also wondering you're the same person who's got adapted to traveling on a general quota ticket. And that's something I've myself never developed the courage to do. Simply impressive!

Your most valid point was of how they've no right to provide you with less than what you PAY for.

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