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Language Swiss, Belgian Etc Crew Use Onboard?  
User currently offlineart From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3382 posts, RR: 1
Posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 11298 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, 1384 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 11146 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, 4901 posts, RR: 25
Reply 2, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 10911 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, 2192 posts, RR: 35
Reply 3, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 10895 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 offlineSInGAPORE_AIR From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13742 posts, RR: 19
Reply 4, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 10839 times:

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


Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
User currently offlineSA7700 From South Africa, joined Dec 2003, 3431 posts, RR: 26
Reply 5, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 10841 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



When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26957 posts, RR: 58
Reply 6, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 10801 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 offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4325 posts, RR: 36
Reply 7, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 10644 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.



nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlineSCQ83 From United States of America, joined Oct 2012, 916 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 10406 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, 25205 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 10306 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, 3972 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 9980 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.


I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlineBoeing74741R From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2007, 1163 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 8866 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, 3238 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 8520 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 (11 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 8086 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 (11 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 8070 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 (11 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 7990 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 (11 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 7901 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, 6216 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 7835 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



Fly the Flag!!!!
User currently offlineaxelesgg From Sweden, joined Jan 2010, 187 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 7758 times:

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

User currently offline777klm From China, joined Apr 2005, 530 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 7507 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, 6089 posts, RR: 29
Reply 20, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7152 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, 187 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 6965 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, 881 posts, RR: 10
Reply 22, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 6792 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 (11 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 6774 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, 479 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 6684 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.


User currently offlineDexSwart From Australia, joined Aug 2012, 536 posts, RR: 0
Reply 25, posted (11 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 6071 times:

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, Tamil and Zulu. That being said, I was flying to and from Durban and those are the most common languages in there. I spoke to FA's in Zulu, English and Afrikaans respectively and they seemed happy that I tried ( at least for Zulu).

They responded to me in that language, as well.

In South Africa, there is a requirement to have all announcements in English. But I've noticed FA's adding in their mother tongue for an announcement as well. English is mandatory. On SA they welcome and farewell in three languages. At least over the PA.



Durban. Melbourne. Denver.
User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1199 posts, RR: 3
Reply 26, posted (11 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 5988 times:

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 took my first SWISSAIR flight in 1954 and I must have made hundreds of Swissair / Swiss flights since then.


User currently offlinemozart From Luxembourg, joined Aug 2003, 2171 posts, RR: 13
Reply 27, posted (11 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 5661 times:

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 used to be a requirement during Swissair times, but it no longer is. That has resulted in quite a number of German FAs among the cabin crew, and they don't speak or understand French - which personally I don't like (even though I speak fluent German).

There are a couple of other countries who are officially bilingual but in practicality are not. Lebanon is one of them, with cabin crew usually speaking Arabic and their French and English being much more rudimentary or their French sometimes even virtually non-existent. No idea about Morocco, Tunisia?


User currently offlineSN535 From Belgium, joined Feb 2005, 35 posts, RR: 0
Reply 28, posted (11 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 5260 times:

Quoting OOSGB (Reply 23):
I could be wrong, but all FA job positions in SN require to be bilingual FR/NL (and EN of course)?

This is correct and is actually for most positions in companies over Belgium.


User currently offlineHELFAN From Finland, joined Aug 2011, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 29, posted (11 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 5215 times:

Quoting axelesgg (Reply 18):

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 announcements come in 3 languages and they often have additional taped announcements eg. in German, French & Dutch depending on the destination


User currently offlineokAY From Finland, joined Dec 2006, 652 posts, RR: 0
Reply 30, posted (11 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 4975 times:

Quoting HELFAN (Reply 29):

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 bilingual and Swedes never appreciate it if one tries to speak Swedish (though they expect it).


User currently offlineHELFAN From Finland, joined Aug 2011, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 31, posted (11 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 4915 times:

Quoting okAY (Reply 30):

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.


User currently offlineokAY From Finland, joined Dec 2006, 652 posts, RR: 0
Reply 32, posted (11 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 4863 times:

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 they want Asian crew due to langauge barriers.

Quoting HELFAN (Reply 31):
why don't the Swedes like us to speak Swedish to them?

That is one for the Swedes to answer but I for one, after having lived in Sweden for four years got bored of "moomin svenska" (Moomin swedish) comments and questions like "why people in Finland speak Swedish?" Like dude, it is your own country's history... So, I made the decision to stop speaking Swedish to Swedes unless it benefits me somehow (ie. professionally) A bit off topic now, sorry for that!  


User currently offlinebwest From Belgium, joined Jul 2006, 1368 posts, RR: 4
Reply 33, posted (11 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 4852 times:

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 language quite well. When I overhear them talking, there's often an interesting mix of Dutch and French going on.

An example I would say for the rest of the Belgians, where a large part only has faint notions of their compatriates language. Though I've noticed there is an interesting shift going on. Where in the past, generally speaking, Flemish people all used to be rather good at French, now the younger generation isn't anymore at all; while the opposite is happening with the French speaking Belgians. There, the younger generation actually more and more learns Dutch, as opposed to their parents who usually don't speak a word of it. (I know, exceptions are to be found at both sides)



I love my Airport Job! :)
User currently offlinemozart From Luxembourg, joined Aug 2003, 2171 posts, RR: 13
Reply 34, posted (11 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 4870 times:

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 26):
No, many French speaking crew on SWISS do not speak German and many of the German speakers don't speak French.

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 least Germany-German.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 26):
This has been my experience since I took my first SWISSAIR flight in 1954 and I must have made hundreds of Swissair / Swiss flights since then.

OK, I qualify my statement. I don't know about 1954-1995, but since then it definitely is not the case


User currently offline330lover From Belgium, joined Jul 2008, 588 posts, RR: 0
Reply 35, posted (11 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 4819 times:

Quoting art (Thread starter):
Belgium (Flemish, French spoken)

Most of us seem to forget, but Belgium is

Quoting photoshooter (Reply 13):
a city/country with 3 official languages so I expect the cabin crew to know all three plus English.

Could not agree more ! Not only cabin crew though !


And as for trains in Belgium:

Quoting Scipio (Reply 22):
In Belgium, announcements in the train are in Dutch only in Flanders, in French only in Wallonia, and in Dutch and French in Brussels.

This is correct. Only on trains to/from Eupen, Welkenraedt (German speaking part), announcements are also made in German.
And IIRC, in the Brussels region, announcements are made first in Dutch, then in French in odd months and the other way around in even months (or vice versa).

But back to topic now...



Britten Norman Islander VP-FBR on Falkland Islands. THAT'S FLYING!
User currently offlinebwest From Belgium, joined Jul 2006, 1368 posts, RR: 4
Reply 36, posted (11 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 4715 times:

Quoting 330lover (Reply 35):
And IIRC, in the Brussels region, announcements are made first in Dutch, then in French in odd months and the other way around in even months (or vice versa).

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 anything else  

German is a bit of a difficult thing. Even though it's an official language, it is only spoken by a very small part of the Belgians, I think not even 100.000 people. So I could forgive a cabin crew member for not speaking it.

I like the way how on some airlines like EY or KL, they make an announcement saying what languages the combined cabin crew speaks.



I love my Airport Job! :)
User currently offlinerunway23 From US Minor Outlying Islands, joined Jan 2005, 2192 posts, RR: 35
Reply 37, posted (11 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 4510 times:

Quoting mozart (Reply 27):
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).

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: http://cabincrew.aviationjobs.me/2013/05/cabin-crew-swiss-geneva.html

Notice, that the requirement is bilingual in French and English only.


User currently offlinemjoelnir From Iceland, joined Feb 2013, 1437 posts, RR: 2
Reply 38, posted (11 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 4442 times:

Quoting runway23 (Reply 37):
Quoting mozart (Reply 27):
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).

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: http://cabincrew.aviationjobs.me/2013/05/cabin-crew-swiss-geneva.html

Notice, that the requirement is bilingual in French and English only.

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.

For me as an Icelander it sounds a bit strange not being able to talk at least two foreign languages.


User currently offlineinfinit From Singapore, joined Jul 2008, 563 posts, RR: 1
Reply 39, posted (11 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 4439 times:

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 the only language that flight crew communicate in. Especially the technical crew, but also the cabin crew.

In the event of an emergency the 3 seconds you take to comprehend a flight attendant instructions might make the distinction between life and death.

Of course, the majority of the world isn't native to English but by any yardstick, English is the de facto international language. It would be far more efficient to have all the crew in international airlines trained to use exclusively English onboard and that way passengers can be expected to have a basic comprehension when they fly.

On a recently NH flight, a friend of mine told me how none of the crew serving his cabin spoke English. I found that disturbing.


User currently offlinebwest From Belgium, joined Jul 2006, 1368 posts, RR: 4
Reply 40, posted (11 months 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 4298 times:

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 emergency situations all orders from the crew are given in English.



I love my Airport Job! :)
User currently offlineAirGabon From Switzerland, joined Dec 2003, 881 posts, RR: 2
Reply 41, posted (11 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 4242 times:

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 them. And it must be the same thing with Tunisair and Air Algerie.

User currently offlineSN535 From Belgium, joined Feb 2005, 35 posts, RR: 0
Reply 42, posted (11 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 4108 times:

Quoting infinit (Reply 39):
It would be far more efficient to have all the crew in international airlines trained to use exclusively English onboard and that way passengers can be expected to have a basic comprehension when they fly.

I have been on many flights where we carried pax who only spoke and understood their native language. All official communication such as announcements and orders/directions during emergencies must be in English. When it comes to customer service, why not speak the language of the passenger if you can?


User currently offlinepqdtw From Netherlands, joined Aug 2008, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 43, posted (11 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 4055 times:

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. On our flights from ATL to BRU and JFK to BRU we have one Dutch speaker, and one French speaker. Officially, I am not the French speaker on board, but I speak French as well.

The easiest would be for me to address each passenger in English, but I find that to be lazy. I usually try to pick up some sort of clue as to which language the passenger speaks. The clues I use are: is the passenger reading a Dutch-language or French-language book or newspaper? Or, if the passenger speaks to me before I speak to them, I listen to the accent or their word choice in English. Almost always I can tell by the accent whether they are Francophone or Nederlandstalig.

It can be quite mind bending to switch between three languages all at once, but it's part of the fun of working those flights.

As far as which language comes first on PA's after English, i.e. Dutch or French, it's whichever one of us gets to the PA first. Often times one or the other is busy helping a passenger or doing something, so one does the announcements and the other follows when he/she can get to the handset.


User currently offlineHELFAN From Finland, joined Aug 2011, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 44, posted (11 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 3787 times:

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 clearly could notice when she greeted us when we boarded. Still the she followed the correct procedure and made all the announcements in Finnish, Swedish and English. That felt kind of funny

User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6618 posts, RR: 9
Reply 45, posted (11 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 3768 times:

Quoting infinit (Reply 39):
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 the only language that flight crew communicate in. Especially the technical crew, but also the cabin crew.

In the event of an emergency the 3 seconds you take to comprehend a flight attendant instructions might make the distinction between life and death.

Of course, the majority of the world isn't native to English but by any yardstick, English is the de facto international language. It would be far more efficient to have all the crew in international airlines trained to use exclusively English onboard and that way passengers can be expected to have a basic comprehension when they fly.

On a recently NH flight, a friend of mine told me how none of the crew serving his cabin spoke English. I found that disturbing.

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're supposed to do what was explained at the beginning (in multiple languages so most passengers get it), if you don't understand during the emergency, look for what the others are doing.



New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlineOOSGB From Belgium, joined Jan 2011, 23 posts, RR: 0
Reply 46, posted (11 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 3631 times:

Legally speaking, language requirements only apply to state-owned companies like NMBS/SNCB the Belgian national railway company (or the BRU airport, which is under federal administration), not to private companies. SN or any private airline is free to determine the language to serve its customers (of course, it would be commercially insane for any Belgian airline not to serve its customers in all the Belgian languages). I understand that in Canada AC has linguistic requirements détermined by the law.

User currently offlineLONGisland89 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 735 posts, RR: 0
Reply 47, posted (11 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 3597 times:

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.

User currently offlinerunway23 From US Minor Outlying Islands, joined Jan 2005, 2192 posts, RR: 35
Reply 48, posted (11 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 3349 times:

Quoting LONGisland89 (Reply 47):
Slightly off topic, but is it fair to lump Swiss German and German as one language?

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 to French spoken in France and French spoken in Quebec.


User currently offlineprosa From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5644 posts, RR: 4
Reply 49, posted (11 months 1 week ago) and read 3272 times:

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 language?


"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
User currently offlinejsnww81 From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2030 posts, RR: 15
Reply 50, posted (11 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 3183 times:

Quoting DexSwart (Reply 25):
In South Africa, there is a requirement to have all announcements in English. But I've noticed FA's adding in their mother tongue for an announcement as well. English is mandatory. On SA they welcome and farewell in three languages. At least over the PA.

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 Portuguese were also played. However, on one of my Comair flights (PLZ-JNB) the announcements were made in English and Afrikaans, and on a 1Time flight (JNB-GRJ) we were welcomed and bid farewell in English, Afrikaans, and Xhosa.

Sometimes the language repetition can get a bit extreme. I did a flight on Atlas Blue in 2007 from Marrakech to Madrid where announcements were made in Arabic, French, English and Spanish. It felt like the crew were talking over the PA for most of the flight!

Does Aer Lingus still make announcements in Irish?


User currently offlineinfinit From Singapore, joined Jul 2008, 563 posts, RR: 1
Reply 51, posted (11 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3096 times:

Quoting SN535 (Reply 42):
Quoting pqdtw (Reply 43):
Quoting Aesma (Reply 45):

Okay, I concede that maybe my theory was over simplistic!


User currently offlineedina From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 744 posts, RR: 9
Reply 52, posted (11 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2926 times:

Luxair require their cabin crew to speak French, English & German......many pax cross the border, particularly from France, to board flights in LUX. Luxembourgish, despite being spoken as a first language by 77% of the population in Luxembourg & neighbouring areas, is a "nice to have" rather than a prerequisite.


Worked on - Caravelle Mercure A300 A320 F27 SD3-60 BAe146 747-100/200/400 DC10-30 767 777 737-400 757 A319 A321
User currently offlineart From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3382 posts, RR: 1
Reply 53, posted (11 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2844 times:

Quoting edina (Reply 52):
Luxembourgish, despite being spoken as a first language by 77% of the population in Luxembourg & neighbouring areas, is a "nice to have" rather than a prerequisite.

Curious, having never heard of Luxembourgish. Is it a dialect of French or German?


User currently offlineedina From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 744 posts, RR: 9
Reply 54, posted (11 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 2795 times:

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_language



Worked on - Caravelle Mercure A300 A320 F27 SD3-60 BAe146 747-100/200/400 DC10-30 767 777 737-400 757 A319 A321
User currently offlinelucce From Finland, joined Jun 2011, 121 posts, RR: 0
Reply 55, posted (11 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 2639 times:

Quoting prosa (Reply 49):
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 language?

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 the regional crew AY uses. One of their complaints was that the crew spoke Finnish to each other although the official company language is English. As RCAs don't speak Finnish, they felt left out even though all essential information is shared in English.

Announcements are usually as follows: (Asian language on flights to Asia-&gt Wink English-> Finnish-> Swedish (->European language on flights to Europe) except for service announcements which are usually only in English to shorten them. In an emergency situation commands would be in Finnish and English or just English.


User currently offlinemozart From Luxembourg, joined Aug 2003, 2171 posts, RR: 13
Reply 56, posted (11 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 2617 times:

Quoting runway23 (Reply 37):
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: http://cabincrew.aviationjobs.me/2013/05/cabin-crew-swiss-geneva.html

Notice, that the requirement is bilingual in French and English only.

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 are accepted (they filled all the slots). And he confirmed that German is a must. With the hub and operations headquartered in Zurich and many planes with their crews flying on W patterns to/from Zurich it wouldn't work without. For instance I was on a GVA-MAD flight last year, and the crew first made all announcements in French, then German, then English, then Spanish. The following day I took the "return" flight to Zurich - i.e. the plane incoming from GVA went to ZRH - and I had the same crew. They spoke German to pax, announcements were German before French.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25205 posts, RR: 22
Reply 57, posted (11 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2412 times:

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-KLMuk (ex-Air UK) crews before they were acquired by KLM. I've been on quite a few KL Fokker 70s with all-British crews. They use recordings for Dutch announcements.

This past weekend I flew KL GVA-AMS-BRU and back. On the AMS-BRU F70 it was an all-British crew, and none spoke either Dutch or French. On the BRU-GVA flight the captain was British and the first officer and 2 cabin crew were Dutch.

It's impossible to even imagine the AF half of AF-KL operating a flight where none of the crew speaks French, but it's seems not to be of any concern to Dutch passengers on KLM, almost all of course who speak fluent English, which certainly isn't the case in France.


User currently offlinea380787 From United States of America, joined Jul 2013, 990 posts, RR: 0
Reply 58, posted (11 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2385 times:

Quoting prosa (Reply 49):
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 language?

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 the cabin announcements are done in Mandarin (even though Canto is the official dialect in HKG)

Can't really imagine any foreign airline making announcements in Shanghai-nese dialect even for flights to PVG or Sichuanese for flights to CTU


User currently offlinemozart From Luxembourg, joined Aug 2003, 2171 posts, RR: 13
Reply 59, posted (11 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2166 times:

Quoting edina (Reply 52):
Luxair require their cabin crew to speak French, English & German......many pax cross the border, particularly from France, to board flights in LUX. Luxembourgish, despite being spoken as a first language by 77% of the population in Luxembourg & neighbouring areas, is a "nice to have" rather than a prerequisite.

Although I seem to remember that announcements are always made at least in Luxembourgish, English and French. German depending on the destination (MUC, FRA, TXL...).

Many of their flights are really short, so having every announcements four times kind of goes on your nerves. I remember when they still used to fly MUC-SCN (Saarbruecken)-LUX. The SCN-LUX leg was a 10 minute hop at 9,000 feet. The pilot already made the arrival announcement for LUX before landing in SCN, probably because he wouldn't have enough time afterwards. But the cabin crew still managed to do announcements in four languages for safety briefing, thank you having flown with us. etc. There wasn't a lot of silence during that part of the flight!


User currently offlineLO231 From Belgium, joined Sep 2004, 2392 posts, RR: 23
Reply 60, posted (11 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2181 times:

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 French, in that order...

Flown on Swiss ZRH-WAW and back once, and actually the crew were Polish... Speaking Polish and Swiss German, also in that order..

Another interesting fact, while flying frequently on LOT to Warsaw, announcements are made in Polish and English, while security tape also playing Flemish (not Dutch of the Netherlands) and French... Some security issues on the PA are also made in English there, like door secured and cross-checked....

Rgrds



Got both LO 788 frames already, next LO E95 and 734 BRU-WAW-BRU
User currently offlineMillwallSean From Singapore, joined Apr 2008, 1243 posts, RR: 6
Reply 61, posted (11 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2141 times:

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

Having flown a fair bit of AY lately I always hear English/ / Finnish and Swedish announcements. And on the connecting flights the FA always addresses Swedish PAX in Swedish. However im usually not on AY when i connect but on a FlyBe operated flight.
On International flights for me SIN-HEL Swedish passengers always gets approached in Swedish. id say thats very professional and sure helps AY capture a fair bit of Scandinavias largest travelmarket. Would be insane of the company not to.

Quoting Aesma (Reply 45):
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're supposed to do what was explained at the beginning (in multiple languages so most passengers get it), if you don't understand during the emergency, look for what the others are doing.

Ah to drive, the only place you can drive if you wanna go a few miles away is Johor and since Malaysia just like Singapore used to be British (the Malaya days) and have English, Maths in English etc etc in every school from year one I have yet to meet any person, even any kampong Malaysian, that cant speak basic English. And I have stayed a fair bit in the very safe JB (it being undafe is one big myth) The biggest problem with non English speakers on the Malayan peninsula these days comes from Singapore importing cheap Chinese labour that cant speak a word of English. Try speaking to some of the bus drivers, or ordering at some hawkers these days, heck even the bar when you go up on touristy Mt Faber, not one person knows a word of English. Saying Foster three times then have to poiint in the menu for the poor staff to understand. With Singapore previously being famous for service this new idea of recruitments will cause alot of issues. Short term profit before long term viability. (Bring back the filippinas pls...)
Im a member at Singapore Cricket club and we have that issue exchanged 50% of the staff from filippino to PRC. Service these days suck but we save 2500 a month. My membership will not be renewed...



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User currently offlinepanamair From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 4901 posts, RR: 25
Reply 62, posted (11 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2103 times:
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Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 57):
It's impossible to even imagine the AF half of AF-KL operating a flight where none of the crew speaks French, but it's seems not to be of any concern to Dutch passengers on KLM, almost all of course who speak fluent English, which certainly isn't the case in France.

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 basically just did the initial welcome announcement in French, and the rest of their French pretty much consisted of Bonjour, Merci, Café, Thé, and Jus d'orange...)

Quoting prosa (Reply 49):
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 language?

Yes, Mandarin is the default language on flights to/from China. Hong Kong flights do get Cantonese from some carriers (I have had Cantonese PAs made on flights to HKG with Cathay, Delta, and United).


User currently offlinerunway23 From US Minor Outlying Islands, joined Jan 2005, 2192 posts, RR: 35
Reply 63, posted (11 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 2017 times:

Quoting mozart (Reply 56):
Just checked with a friend working at Swiss. Indeed GVA has a base now. However, no more job applications are accepted (they filled all the slots). And he confirmed that German is a must. With the hub and operations headquartered in Zurich and many planes with their crews flying on W patterns to/from Zurich it wouldn't work without. For instance I was on a GVA-MAD flight last year, and the crew first made all announcements in French, then German, then English, then Spanish. The following day I took the "return" flight to Zurich - i.e. the plane incoming from GVA went to ZRH - and I had the same crew. They spoke German to pax, announcements were German before French.



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 base will be fully up and running, there will be 9 aircraft based in GVA. In the meantime, for the winter schedule there is a sharp reduction in W patterns and cross-crewing. From Summer 2014, there will be no more W patterns except for LCY/ZRH. At that point, the minimum requirements language wise are those posted in the advert (ie. English/French).

The exception to this for GVA flights will flights to LCY, ZRH and JFK (all crewed by ZRH based crews, as GVA will be an A32S base until the C-series arrive).

Essentially as far as LX is concerned, GVA becomes an autonomous operation: dedicated MD, marketing, crews, different price structures.


User currently offlineRyanairGuru From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 5487 posts, RR: 5
Reply 64, posted (11 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1985 times:

Quoting LONGisland89 (Reply 47):
is it fair to lump Swiss German and German as one language?

It like whether asking whether Latin American Spanish dialects is same language as Spanish from Spain...

I had this conversation once with two Spanish speakers, one from Catalunya and the other from Uruguay, and I asked them how well they could understand each other. They both burst out laughing, and admitted that it could be challenging. While the words were the same, things such as sentence construction differed. They said that there was ALOT more in common between English dialects (English, American, Australian etc) than there was between Spanish dialects.

Quoting edina (Reply 52):
Luxembourgish, despite being spoken as a first language by 77% of the population in Luxembourg & neighbouring areas, is a "nice to have" rather than a prerequisite.

IIRC Dutch isn't a prerequisite for KLM

(or is that only the ex-UK crews?)

[Edited 2013-10-02 03:26:10]


Worked Hard, Flew Right
User currently offlineinfinit From Singapore, joined Jul 2008, 563 posts, RR: 1
Reply 65, posted (11 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1934 times:

Quoting MillwallSean (Reply 61):
from Singapore importing cheap Chinese labour that cant speak a word of English. Try speaking to some of the bus drivers, or ordering at some hawkers these days, heck even the bar when you go up on touristy Mt Faber, not one person knows a word of English. Saying Foster three times then have to poiint in the menu for the poor staff to understand. With Singapore previously being famous for service this new idea of recruitments will cause alot of issues. Short term profit before long term viability. (Bring back the filippinas pls...)
Im a member at Singapore Cricket club and we have that issue exchanged 50% of the staff from filippino to PRC. Service these days suck but we save 2500 a month. My membership will not be renewed...

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 English standards much even though it is our native language. They chose to leave it to businesses to train their staff and of course many typically profit-orientated businesses can't afford to train them adequately.

Singapore's service industry is powered by foreign labour since we don't like jobs in this sector. Standards will only improve if the government regulates it which they don't want to since it will drive prices up.

SQ is atypical of a Singaporean business in this regard. Their orientation is very long-term. After the split from Malaysia-Singapore Airlines, SQ's founding father, JY Pillai had the vision to build a competitive advantage by offering exemplary service and the company invested heavily in training. SQ has "Singapore Girls" from China, India and many other countries. Apart from Singaporean passengers who probably can tell they're not local by their accents, I bet most foreigners flying SQ won't be able to tell they're not local. Every SQ FA I've met spoke perfect English. It's all about investing in your company's human capital.


User currently offlineSKAirbus From Norway, joined Oct 2007, 1718 posts, RR: 1
Reply 66, posted (11 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1585 times:

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 Danish one on... It happens) but the purser was Norwegian so did all the announcements in English and Norwegian. Was a nice touch I thought! I bet he gets tired of always being rostered on LHR-OSL/BGO/SVG runs for that reason! hehe.


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