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Language Swiss, Belgian Etc Crew Use Onboard?  
User currently offlineart From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3378 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 11200 times:

Just curious. What language do the crew use to talk to each other when they come from multilingual countries eg Switzerland (French, German, Italian spoken), Belgium (Flemish, French spoken) and in many other countries where more than one language is used?

Do flightdeck crew converse in the captain's preferred language? What about cabin crew - do they choose the language that the majority prefer to use?

66 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAustrianZRH From Austria, joined Aug 2007, 1358 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (9 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 11048 times:

Quoting art (Thread starter):
What about cabin crew - do they choose the language that the majority prefer to use?

From my passenger experience, that's about it. I've heard them conversing in German and French - they will simply use the language they are most comfortable with. IIRC, fluency in German and French is a requirement for Swiss FAs anyway.



WARNING! The post above should be taken with a grain of salt! Furthermore, it may be slightly biased towards A.
User currently offlinepanamair From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 4863 posts, RR: 25
Reply 2, posted (9 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 10813 times:
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Quoting AustrianZRH (Reply 1):
IIRC, fluency in German and French is a requirement for Swiss FAs anyway.

The more recent cabin crew recruitment material I have seen from Swiss indicates that only German and English are a must. French is preferred but not mandatory.

Quoting art (Thread starter):
Just curious. What language do the crew use to talk to each other when they come from multilingual countries eg Switzerland (French, German, Italian spoken)

From what I have seen, it is mostly German (Swiss German actually) that is used. When there is a cabin crew member from the Suisse Romande area, then I have heard French being used often with that crew member.


User currently offlinerunway23 From US Minor Outlying Islands, joined Jan 2005, 2175 posts, RR: 36
Reply 3, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 10797 times:

Quoting AustrianZRH (Reply 1):
From my passenger experience, that's about it. I've heard them conversing in German and French - they will simply use the language they are most comfortable with. IIRC, fluency in German and French is a requirement for Swiss FAs anyway.

On Swiss, on intra-europe flights announcements are in English then either German (if flight is from/to ZRH/BSL) or French (to/from GVA). On ZRH-GVA, the first language used is the language of destination then the other language then English.

Speaking French is not a requirement for ZRH based crews, just like speaking German isn't a requirement for GVA based crews.

Flightdeck crews are required to go through a training to learn French (or German) if they do not speak the language.


User currently onlineSInGAPORE_AIR From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13737 posts, RR: 19
Reply 4, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 10741 times:

For ex-ZRH, I have mainly experienced German and English but on a flight ZRH-BCN these were also complemented by French announcements.


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User currently offlineSA7700 From South Africa, joined Dec 2003, 3431 posts, RR: 26
Reply 5, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 10743 times:
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From my personal experience the Swiss International crew spoke German to one another on my international and European flights.

Take care and regards,

SA7700



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User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26806 posts, RR: 58
Reply 6, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 10703 times:

From my experience with Swiss ( over 100 flights ) it is a mix depending on the crew. I would say over 80% they speak Swiss German and 20% French. I have heard two Swiss French cabin crew speaking to each other in French on a ZRH-ATH run. I cant say I ever heard them speaking in English other than to passengers.

All announcements were made in English/German/French.


User currently onlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4295 posts, RR: 36
Reply 7, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 10546 times:

Brussels Airlines is an interesting case as well.
The old Sabena was culturally more French language leaning while Delta Air Transport was more Flemish (Dutch) rooted. When SN Brussels was formed I think the smaller ex DAT Avro's still had more Flemish crew and the former Sabena Airbuses were more Francophone. Without stirring the pot, most Flemish crew can speak French but most Walloons are not very good in Flemish so I guess Flemish crew switched to French when talking with a Walloon collegue to make life easier for everyone.



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User currently offlineSCQ83 From United States of America, joined Oct 2012, 783 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 10308 times:

I flew the other day LX CDG-ZRH and while announcements were in French, German and English, the cabin crew (at least those around me) just seemed to speak English and German only...since they talked to every other French passenger in English. I was surprised since the flight originated in France, so I assume at least for Paris flights they would have some French-speaking FAs.

User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24670 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 10208 times:

Quoting panamair (Reply 2):
Quoting AustrianZRH (Reply 1):IIRC, fluency in German and French is a requirement for Swiss FAs anyway.
The more recent cabin crew recruitment material I have seen from Swiss indicates that only German and English are a must. French is preferred but not mandatory.

I don't think French has ever been a requirement for LX (or Swissair) cabin crew. Following is from the LX careers section on their website referring to cabin crew requirements:

High standard of language skills in German and English; French, Italian, Spanish is an advantage.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 6):
From my experience with Swiss ( over 100 flights ) it is a mix depending on the crew. I would say over 80% they speak Swiss German and 20% French.

And those whose native language is French also speak German since German (and English) are requirements at the time of hiring.


User currently offlineblueflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3902 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 9882 times:
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To add a country the OP didn't mention into the mix, I have heard Air Canada crew talk among themselves in French in a layover in a hotel in Vancouver and English while waiting for a flight in Montreal. I don't think Air Canada routinely use cabin crew from different bases on the same flight, so my educated guess would be that crew based in Montreal speak French first and crew based elsewhere English first.


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User currently offlineBoeing74741R From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2007, 1151 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 8768 times:

When I flew with Brussels Airlines in April MAN-BRU, I remember the crew speaking in English and French, not sure about Dutch/Flemish. It was definitely English and French on Ryanair CRL-MAN.

User currently offlinetrintocan From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2000, 3225 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 8422 times:

In the case of AC by law every flight must have at least one crew member conversant in French. Whether French is the actual first language of the crew member(s) concerned I'm not sure though.

Trintocan.



Hop to it, fly for life!
User currently offlinephotoshooter From Belgium, joined Feb 2010, 454 posts, RR: 20
Reply 13, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 7988 times:
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Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 7):

Brussels Airlines is an interesting case as well.
The old Sabena was culturally more French language leaning while Delta Air Transport was more Flemish (Dutch) rooted. When SN Brussels was formed I think the smaller ex DAT Avro's still had more Flemish crew and the former Sabena Airbuses were more Francophone. Without stirring the pot, most Flemish crew can speak French but most Walloons are not very good in Flemish so I guess Flemish crew switched to French when talking with a Walloon collegue to make life easier for everyone.

Very true. Even if the French crew were with less, they still switched to French. Same goes for Brussels, thousands of Flemmish people commute to Brussels and at work they speak French. Not a big thing for them, it's a big thing for people who live East, North or West of the country and can't speak French. They feel insulted...

Quoting Boeing74741R (Reply 11):
When I flew with Brussels Airlines in April MAN-BRU, I remember the crew speaking in English and French, not sure about Dutch/Flemish. It was definitely English and French on Ryanair CRL-MAN.

SN; could have been French speaking crew, normally you can notice when they speak English.


I've logged some SN flights so far and I always talk Dutch. The airline represents a city/country with 3 official languages so I expect the cabin crew to know all three plus English.



'A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.' - Winston Churchill
User currently offlineSN535 From Belgium, joined Feb 2005, 35 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 7972 times:

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 8):

I can't speak on DAT's behalf as I was employed by Sabena. In Sabena's case, it all depended mostly on the crew composition. The senior cabin crew were mostly from the time that the French language was "chic". Hence they mostly spoke French amongst each other. However, most of them could speak Dutch fluently and communicated in Dutch to other staff. The same was the case for the purser as he/she was most of the time a senior level FA. I have never been on a flight where the language was an issue. All FA's mastered both languages though I have to say that I met more young Dutch speaking FA's who were not that well in French than older FA's who were not that good in Dutch.  
Things were more or less the same for the cockpit. The FO would most of the time switch to the captain's mother tongue. It goes without saying that for all official communication English was used.
From what I hear from ex-colleagues working at Brussels Airlines, it is still the same as it was back in the days.


User currently offlineSQSFO From United States of America, joined Sep 2012, 32 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 7892 times:

As per the flight deck, if there is no common language the flight deck crew can communicate in, as per ICAO, and UN aviation regulations, I assume they can at the least communicate with each other in English. They probably already are while talking to air traffic controllers, so communicating in English amongst themselves cant be that hard, or could it?

User currently offlinesn535 From Belgium, joined Feb 2005, 35 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 7803 times:

And sorry, I should have quoted reply 7 instead of 8 in my previous post!

User currently offlinechepos From Puerto Rico, joined Dec 2000, 6201 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 7737 times:

The one time I flew AC on the YYZ-YUL shuttle of course all announcements were in French and English but the crew spoke among themselves mostly in French. Actually when checking in at YYZ the check in agent had a question regarding my ticket had to call some office and the conversation was in French. At another occasion I was at YYC waiting for the hotel shuttle and the inbound AC crew from the FRA flight was waiting for the shuttle as well, they were speaking French.

Regards,

Chepos



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User currently offlineaxelesgg From Sweden, joined Jan 2010, 185 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 7660 times:

They speak, at least try, to speak Swedish on Finnair flights  

User currently offline777klm From China, joined Apr 2005, 527 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 7409 times:

Quoting axelesgg (Reply 18):
They speak, at least try, to speak Swedish on Finnair flights  

On some of my AMS-CPH flights there are also announcements in Swedish. Is it due to the proximity of Malmö (across the bridge from CPH) and/or the number of people connecting to Sweden?



Next flight: AMS-PEK
User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6056 posts, RR: 29
Reply 20, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 7054 times:
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Quoting trintocan (Reply 12):
In the case of AC by law every flight must have at least one crew member conversant in French. Whether French is the actual first language of the crew member(s) concerned I'm not sure though.


Is that the law for trains too? I have taken the train between Ontario and Quebec several times and once you cross into Quebec the announcements switch over to French/English.

I have heard commuter train crews speaking in English to each other in Montreal, including locomotive crews, but speak to the passengers in French.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineaxelesgg From Sweden, joined Jan 2010, 185 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 6867 times:

Quoting 777klm (Reply 19):

Certainly, many Swedes from southern Sweden choose CPH instead of MMX.
But is that on KL or SK? If it's on SK you shouldn't be suprised if they spoke Norwegian either.  


User currently offlineScipio From Belgium, joined Oct 2007, 815 posts, RR: 9
Reply 22, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 6694 times:

Quoting falstaff (Reply 20):
Is that the law for trains too?

In Belgium, announcements in the train are in Dutch only in Flanders, in French only in Wallonia, and in Dutch and French in Brussels.

I feel very sorry for foreigners visiting our country by train...


User currently offlineOOSGB From Belgium, joined Jan 2011, 23 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 6676 times:

I could be wrong, but all FA job positions in SN require to be bilingual FR/NL (and EN of course)? Differently from Swiss, whose bases ZRH and GVA are respectively German- and French-speaking, BRU is a bilingual base, not the least because BRU is in Flanders but is the main airport in Belgium (although flight announcements in CRL are also made in NL). Being bilingual FR/NL makes sense from a commercial point of view.

This being said, being a bilingual Belgian, I have used both languages in SN flights and was always answered in the same language.


User currently offlineopethfan From Canada, joined Dec 2012, 416 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (9 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 6586 times:

Quoting OOSGB (Reply 23):
being a bilingual Belgian

Trilingual, if you count English  

When I took YUL - CDG everything was predominantly French (obviously) but CDG - YYZ was more English. Both languages were used on both flights, though.


25 DexSwart : South Africa is another country where there is quite a mix of languages. On my last two SA flights, I heard crews converse in Afrikaans, English, Tami
26 lychemsa : No, many French speaking crew on SWISS do not speak German and many of the German speakers don't speak French. This has been my experience since I too
27 mozart : At Swiss, German is a MUST also for GVA-based crew (In fact, I even doubt that there are GVA-based crews, I think they are all based in ZRH). French u
28 SN535 : This is correct and is actually for most positions in companies over Belgium.
29 HELFAN : I think it is still a requirement for AY cabin crew to be at least trilingual: Finnish, Swedish, English. Many speak other languages as well. All ann
30 okAY : It is not a requirement anymore for AY staff to speak Swedish. And I think there is no need for that. Finland's Swedish people are almost all bilingu
31 HELFAN : OK, but why don't the Swedes like us to speak Swedish to them? That's new to me. Maybe some Swedish A.Netters can comment on that.
32 Post contains images okAY : Langauge politics is a bit hitt and miss at AY at the moment. They don't require the nation's second official language anymore, but at the same time t
33 bwest : From my frequent flights with them I do get the feeling SN definitely has more Dutch speaking then French speaking cc. And they all do speak the other
34 mozart : Definitely not true. No cabin crew at LX that doesn't speak German. Some don't speak Swiss-German (maybe that is what you meant) but all speak at lea
35 330lover : Most of us seem to forget, but Belgium is Could not agree more ! Not only cabin crew though ! And as for trains in Belgium: This is correct. Only on
36 Post contains images bwest : There's probably a rule about it, but my daily communte teaches me that it depends more on the mood of the ticket inspector on the train than on anyt
37 Post contains links runway23 : You are mistaken. German is not a requirement for GVA based crews. The crew base has just been re-opened this year. You can see the job posting here:
38 mjoelnir : It is not a requirement for everybody hired. But they ask for person speaking more than the two languages and further training could add more skills.
39 infinit : Excuse my political incorrectness and I may be biased, coming from an English-native country- Singapore, but in this day and age, English should be th
40 bwest : Hm, imagine a flight from Paris to Geneva, or from Montevideo to El Paz where everything would have to be in English. Also, I do believe that in emerg
41 AirGabon : For instance in Morocco, Royal Air Maroc crew will make the annoucements in Arabic, French, English. It has been always the case each time I flew with
42 SN535 : I have been on many flights where we carried pax who only spoke and understood their native language. All official communication such as announcement
43 pqdtw : A different twist maybe how a US carrier handles the announcements: I fly for Delta and am an official Dutch speaker. As such I fly to BRU regularly.
44 HELFAN : I once flew a domestic flight in Finland on a Saab 340 with only 3 pax onboard. We were all 100% native Finnish speakers which the cabin attendant cle
45 Aesma : Take your car and drive a few miles out of Singapore, I'm sure you can find many people who don't understand one word of English. In an emergency you
46 OOSGB : Legally speaking, language requirements only apply to state-owned companies like NMBS/SNCB the Belgian national railway company (or the BRU airport, w
47 LONGisland89 : Slightly off topic, but is it fair to lump Swiss German and German as one language? They sound just as different as Portuguese and Italian.
48 runway23 : Yes, Swiss German is a dialect, although in written form both are identical. Of course, there are also regional differences that apply. It is similar
49 prosa : What about flights in China? Some of the versions of Chinese are barely intelligible to speakers of other versions. Is Mandarin used as the default la
50 jsnww81 : On my flights in South Africa last year, all of the announcements aboard SAA were in English only, except for JNB-GRU where recorded announcements in
51 infinit : Okay, I concede that maybe my theory was over simplistic!
52 edina : Luxair require their cabin crew to speak French, English & German......many pax cross the border, particularly from France, to board flights in LU
53 art : Curious, having never heard of Luxembourgish. Is it a dialect of French or German?
54 Post contains links edina : It's root is in German, but being a border language, like Alsatian, there are elements of French too. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxembourgish_langu
55 lucce : Most airlines have different crew operating flights to PEK and PVG/HKG. So that would be no, they are just too different. I recently read a study on
56 mozart : Something is fishy with that job posting. Just checked with a friend working at Swiss. Indeed GVA has a base now. However, no more job applications a
57 Viscount724 : It's fairly common on KLM CityHopper flights to have an all-British crew (pilots and cabin crew) where none of them speaks Dutch. They're no doubt ex-
58 a380787 : I can't speak for LX, but I have some experience on LH's MUC-HKG. It's kinda awkward because the safety video is done in Cantonese but the rest of th
59 mozart : Although I seem to remember that announcements are always made at least in Luxembourgish, English and French. German depending on the destination (MU
60 LO231 : Just a travel agent, but somebody mentioned Belgium.... To get a position in the industry, I was required to be able to converse in Dutch, English and
61 MillwallSean : Having flown a fair bit of AY lately I always hear English/ / Finnish and Swedish announcements. And on the connecting flights the FA always addresse
62 panamair : When Cityjet was operating a lot more flights for AF, you would run into Irish crews on many AF flights with just a cursory knowledge of French (they
63 runway23 : Right now all crew are based in ZRH so effectively everyone speaks German. However, if you look at the schedules for next summer ex-GVA, when the bas
64 RyanairGuru : It like whether asking whether Latin American Spanish dialects is same language as Spanish from Spain... I had this conversation once with two Spanis
65 infinit : Tell me about it.. I find it harder to get around my own country these days! I blame our government though. Like most things, they don't regulate Eng
66 SKAirbus : I flew BA recently from LHR to OSL and normally they play a recorded announcement in Norwegian (or if they are particularly stupid, put a Swedish or D
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