In a show of patriotism, Air India‘s senior management has instructed its crew to use relevant Hindi phrases after each announcement to “keeping with the mood of the nation”.
If one thinks this has to do with the recent national security situation the country faces, that might be just partially right because Air India has used this language before to lighten up the spirit of passengers during delay situations (of which AI has many).
Now Conde Nast Traveller reported that this practice has been re-introduced.
Air India has reminded its crew to end every announcement with a “Jai Hind”—to be delivered emphatically, “after a slight pause and [with] much fervour”. An advisory issued by Capt. Amitabh Singh, the airline’s Director of Operations, reads: “With immediate effect, all [crew] are required to announce ‘Jai Hind’ at the end of every announcement after a slight pause and much fervour.” It isn’t clear if the instructions are only for the pilots or for all staff: on ground, as well as cabin crew.
To be sure, the airline had issued similar instructions in 2016, asking pilots to close pre-take-off announcement with a “Jai Hind”. The then Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani believed that the salutation would elevate the mood of the passengers, at a time when complaints about flight delays and rude staff were peaking. “The captain of a flight should often connect with passengers during the journey and, at the end of first address, using the words ‘Jai Hind’ would make a tremendous impact,” Lohani had then told Air India staff.
Lohani moved on from his position, but is now back in the saddle, again as the Air India chief. This time, the instructions are a reminder to staff in keeping with the “mood of the nation”, an Air India official has told The Indian Express.
It also isn’t the first attempt at instilling national pride in a captive audience on board. In January, India’s aviation regulator DGCA, instructed pilots to announce each time they were flying over a monument of national importance.
The financial situation of Air India is once again dire and their operational condition isn’t much better, as passengers can attest. Long delays are unfortunately very common and then there was the story last year of several Air India pilots being caught drunk. Can the performance of such an airline really make you proud?
When I first read this article, I thought this would be something out of The Onion, a satire news site, but they are indeed serious about it. It is hard to believe people would respond to this kind of laughable campaign in a delay situation as if that would suddenly make them feel better about their Air India flight being half a day late.
Being proud of ones country is one thing, and I’m sure many Indian people love their home country as others do theirs, but the airline (AI) is a disaster.