Friday, June 05, 2009

Comedy of Saudi Women in airplanes

If you have experienced flying with the Saudi passengers, you may relate the below article.

Women in airplanes
Abdullah Al-Maghlouth | Al-Watan

Muhammad, is there a woman sitting beside you? The question was asked by the Saudia flight attendant when he saw a woman entering the airplane. In 15 minutes, I changed my seat four times when the number of women entering the airplane kept increasing. Saudia flight attendants act hysterically when they see a woman sitting next to a man who they think is a stranger.

They immediately volunteer to find another seat for the woman even if she has not complained. At one point they separated a man from his wife and placed a strange woman next to him. The greater the number of women in the plane, the bigger the mess. An old man was forced to stand for a long time because there was a woman seated next to his seat. In the end the woman felt sorry for the old man and asked him to sit in his seat. The flight attendant, however, did not agree to that and insisted on finding another seat for the old man.

On one of my trips on Saudia from Dammam to Riyadh, I could not help laughing at the comedy that unfolded inside the aircraft. An Indian engineer sitting next to me described it as a funny movie. The comedy did not end when the plane took off; indeed it continued even when the aircraft was flying. One of the passengers kept asking a female flight attendant a question every time she passed him.

Once he asked her about the arrival time; at another time about the captain’s nationality and then he wanted some water! Do you have an apple? He continued to ask the poor flight attendant questions until she stopped serving passengers. When a male flight attendant passed by the passenger, he asked him about the female flight attendant. He told him that she had jumped out of the plane in order to escape his questions.

The comedy continued on our flight back from Riyadh. A male passenger continued asking a woman sitting next to him if he could borrow her newspaper. The woman refused to give him the newspaper, saying she was reading it. The man continued to ask for the newspaper until she got exasperated and put the newspaper down. He then picked it up, wrote his phone number on it and with a smile on his face, put it down again.

I am sure the kind of scenes I described happen only aboard our flights. It has become a studio for comic movies that has not yet been discovered and invested in despite the fact that these scenes make us laugh but at the same time show how ignorant our people are. Changing seats, chaos and harassing women on a bus are not the characteristics of a civilized society. Then what about on an airplane?

If any of our women object to her seat on the aircraft, the problem should be addressed and solved before we board. We are sick of waiting while these issues are dealt with. It is past the time for take off.

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