Jalalabad
Topic Author
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Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Sun Jan 02, 2005 5:10 pm

For those of you on the job in the US, how often do you use a foreign language with the customer? I'm sure Spanish is up there, but what about French, German, Mandarin, Japanese, Italian, etc? I am applying to one of the majors and listing German, but am nervous should I be hired and begin to employ my skills with real German nationals!
 
Leskova
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Sun Jan 02, 2005 6:36 pm

Don't worry - a lot of Germans (at least those travelling to the US) speak at least a bit of English, so you probably won't have to rely 100% on German: from my point of view, having a big vocabulary is most important to start with, language usage can - and will - follow.

And anyhow... I've heard some seasoned flight attendants speak German with passengers that really made my blood freeze - an A-Plus for the effort, but a D-Minus for grammar and vocabulary... nonetheless, it helped the passengers, and they were happy afterwards (after all - their English was even less "servicable" than the F/A's German).

If you can, try getting things like "Deutsche Welle TV" to get the feel of the language in everyday-use... back when we moved to the US, watching TV actually helped my mother a great deal: listening to how the language normally sounds, to the words that are used and to the pronunciation is usually a great help.

Don't worry - it'll be a jump into cold water at first, but you'll get the hang of it soon enough.

Regards,
Frank
Smile - it confuses people!
 
Jalalabad
Topic Author
Posts: 101
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Sun Jan 02, 2005 7:06 pm

Oh thanks for the kind words. I do catch DWTV on occasion and read a few of the magazines online. The position I'm looking at is at the ticket counter, so I suppose there is a pretty fixed set of vocabulary to know. Mostly, I think about being caught off guard and stammering, or saying something awkward. "Ich wuensche Ihnen einen guten Flug!" haha, I guess it is just nerves though.
 
Leskova
Posts: 5547
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Sun Jan 02, 2005 7:16 pm

You're welcome - I guess your situation is about the way I feel whenever I have to dig up my French... it's not a pretty, and to a French person I'd probably sound like a drunk waking up under a bridge along the Seine... but I manage to get the message accross.

As for important sentences...

Möchen Sie lieber per Kreditkarte oder Bargeld bezahlen?
Nein, ein kostenloses Upgrade in die Business Class gibt es leider nicht!

... are probably two of the most important ones around... Big grin

Good luck!

Regards,
Frank
Smile - it confuses people!
 
NumberTwelve
Posts: 1393
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Sun Jan 02, 2005 10:45 pm

... or: "Nein, ich kann Ihnen leider keinen Sitzplatz mit 120 cm Beinfreiheit in der Economy-Class anbieten!"

Jalalabad, it depends where you will work. And for most of the Germans the "good will" is important. If you don't speak German perfectly and only try to say a few words, it's fine because most of us are happy to see when people from other nations try to speak some German.

I guess you will get answers in English language when you talk to German people in German because they are not used to it that other nations speak the German language.

So no worries, just talk and if they laugh about your German knowledge, show them the middle finger - which is an intl. language, I guess  Wink/being sarcastic

Unfortunately we react a little different with Dutch people, we expect from them to speak German - why? No clue.

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PacificWestern
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Sun Jan 02, 2005 11:11 pm

On two occasions while travelling by airplane in the USA, I was used as a "translator" by flight attendants for French speaking passengers. One was a guy from France who spoke no English at all and the other time was a woman from Quebec who spoke only a few words of English and not well.

In the days when US based airlines were still hiring FAs, I don't know if background in different languages considered an asset to the airline or not. I do recall on several occasions of FAs speaking fluent Spanish.

 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Sun Jan 02, 2005 11:13 pm

Numbertwelve,

I´m quite often in the Netherlands and have quite a few friends over there. The funny thing is, esp. when I´m slightly drunk, I can understand what they are talking about, I can read Dutxch newspapers, but due to the wast differences in pronounciation of words, I can´t speak their language except for a few words.
Usually I end up speaking in English with my friends (which is a language all of us are good in).

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
Gofly
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Sun Jan 02, 2005 11:14 pm

I think when you work for an airline, (especially cabin crew) any language would be useful. With people coming in from all over the world you never know when you might need it.

Good luck with your application.

Regards
Living the high life on my ex-Airliners.net Moderator pension...
 
flymia
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 4:45 am

Spanish is a very important language for Airlines in the US atleast if they fly to Latin America or MIA. Every flight out of MIA well with AA atleast will have atleast one Spanish Speaking FA. And if it is a international flight to latin America many will speak spanish. If you ever noticed even on a domestic flight like MIA-JFK or MIA-LAX the FA's say everything in Spanish and English and the safety video too.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
mtnmanmakalu
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 4:54 am

If you ever noticed even on a domestic flight like MIA-JFK or MIA-LAX the FA's say everything in Spanish and English and the safety video too.

It should be done on International flights, but this is America and if you live here you SHOULD learn and know English!!!

Most US Airlines have done away with interpreters due to pay cuts.... Only seen them consistently on Asia flights....
I do, I don't, whatever.......
 
Cory6188
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 5:08 am

In my experiences on CO, flights to destinations where there will be pax that only speak the destination language will have F/A's speaking the language of the destination country. However, on leisure flights to other countries where it will be all American tourists, you will not find language-qualified F/A's.

For example, when I flew from EWR-SJU, there were a substantial number of Puerto Rican pax that did not speak English, and the gate agent spoke Spanish as well as one of the F/A's, who had a separate name tag that said "Yo Hablo Espanol". However, when I flew from EWR-PVR, there wasn't a single pax that was Mexican in either direction. I looked in the gate area and it was all wealthy tourists. Therefore, the gate agent was not Spanish, nor were any of the F/A's. Oddly enough, on the EWR-PVR segment, one of the F/A's had a name tag that said "Ich sprechen deustch". I would have to guess that she was on reserve for the flight - there weren't any German tourists on board.
 
ac345yyz
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 7:55 am

This brings up an interesting topic, should flight crew ect.... Have to be able to speak the language of the destination city? I believe that if the destination city speaks a language that is different of the origin, and is still not an official language of that country, the language of the destination should not have to be spoken. Several times while traveling throughout Europe on different airlines (Alitalia, SAS, Lufthansa, Malev) English was not spoken on these flights, to me this was very supriseing. Me being a Canadian am quite open to different races and languages but when I am in there country I expect the same from them!
 
L1011Lover
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 9:41 am

On every DL flight between the US and Europe you will find at least one F/A able to converse in the destinations country language.
I´ve never been on a DL flight out of or into Germany without a German speaking F/A, also on one flight into CDG two of the F/A´s spoke French. Seems to me DL has language speakers on all or at least most of their international transatlantic flights. And all anouncements are made in English and the destination language. I remember DL´s service STR-AMS-ATL were all anouncements were made in all three languages.

On a DL flight from FRA to CVG in 1995 for instance, all of the 9 F/A´s (of the L1011 TriStar, flt. 49) though CVG based were German. I think that DL is the US carrier that employs the most German F/A´s, first of all due to the fact that it´s been the first former US domestic carrier starting US to Germany flights after the deregulation act, and also because of the fact that they took over PA´s European network together with many, many JFK based Flight Crews! Many of them spoke German and a whole lot of different languages.

PA used to operate crew bases in Europe that were mostly staffed with European nationals. They used to have TXL, LHR, WAW and IST to name a few.

NW also used to operate an interpreter base in LGW, but closed it soon after 9/11 and since then fired all their interpreters.

The only US carrier left with crew bases in Europe is UA. LHR, FRA and CDG are their bases. 80 of the 250 F/A´s based in FRA are German nationals and even more do speak German. Even the LHR base from which language qualified F/A´s are not necessarily needed as UA (at the time) does not serve any nonenglish speaking destinations from there (DEL has been abandoned), has a huge amount of language qualified F/A´s some of them were new hires to UA, others also came from PA when UA took over their LHR rights.

Best regards,

L1011Lover

 
KaiGywer
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 10:27 am

I know that on domestic Norwegian flights, both English and Norwegian will be used, IF, any pax does not understand Norwegian. Having jumpseated on WF, I remember the F/A coming into the cockpit saying "32 pax, all Norwegian". On that case, all announcements were done in Norwegian only. This leads me to believe they would have done them in English had it been necessary. Onboard SK, it always seems to be announcements in English, and on one occasion, even three languages. The flight that comes in mind, was OSL-TOS-ALF, where on the TOS-ALF leg, the announcement was even done in Saami (Laplandish for those of you that aren't familiar with the proper terms..). That really surprised me, but I thought it was kinda cool, given that there no doubt was Saami pax.
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, an
 
RIOJANEIRO
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 10:37 am

At HP, we so far have only one LOD (Language of Destination) route, which is PHX-MEX. On this flight it is required that both the 1st and 3rd FA be proficient in Spanish, as all announcements and service are done in both languages. This also includes gate agents, who make boarding announcements in both languages as well. FA's also recieve higher pay for these routes as well.

I know that, although not required, many FA's/agents will make announcements in Spanish as well to flights to GDL, PVR, ZLO, MZT, etc who may have spanish speakers on board. Just from my experience, there are usually a handful of pax on board these routes that only speak Spanish, but the large majority are indeed American, English-speaking tourists.

It's often a joke that we'll be starting LOD flights to ELP very soon as well...hehe
 
aa777jr
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 12:08 pm

Any US carriers doing introductions on the plane in two different languages?
I would suspect if so, they are all international flights. I've been on KL and LH flights bound from the US to Europe and the captain came on and did information regarding the flight in both English and Deutch. I've also been on AF flights bound to CDG where information was done in English and French consecutively.

AA777jr
A liberal is a man who is right most of the time, but he's right too soon.
 
ERJ145LR
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 12:49 pm

I was on an AA flight from CostaRica to MIA and all the inflight announcements were in spanish FIRST than... in English. I found it interesting.
 
AA767400
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 12:59 pm

Flights like JFK-MIA,MIA-LAX, have Spanish speakers because there is a lot of connecting passengers from Spanish speaking countries. Just because we are in The United States, does not mean that everyone who speaks a foreign language lives here. They can be visitors, and as visitors they appreciate the language spoken to them in their native tongue.
"The low fares airline."
 
flymia
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 1:27 pm

Aa767400: Yes I know that because it is the US that not everyone that speaks a foreign landuage lives here but the domestic flights I noted where from MIA with more that 50% of the residents of MIA speak spanish. Actully I think it is 75% speak it and something like 55-60% are latin. Not really sure. Also yes all the latin American connections from MIA. When flying DFW-ANC I did not have spanish spoken or when flying CVG-BWI
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
Argonaut
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 1:37 pm

"It should be done on International flights, but this is America and if you live here you SHOULD learn and know English!!!"


Oh dear. I suppose we should feel sorry for all those people who do not live in America (sic) and who happen not to speak English. What bad luck for them.

'the rank is but the guinea stamp'
 
Spike
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 2:23 pm

Sorry, but American's don't actualy speak English. They speak a stange mix of incorrect words and grammaticaly incorrect sentences. Plus a huge amount of BS.
 
ElPelon
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 2:23 pm

Last year I flew from MEX to CDG with AF. I was sorry that none of the announcements (Including safety instructions) were in spanish, also none of the FA spoke spanish, everything was in french and english. I think that if they were flying out of MEX, they should spect a lot of spanish speaking pax. I couldn´t believe that not even the safety instructions were translated into spanish.
In every international flight, there always should be at least one member of the crew that speak the language of origin and the language of destination, for two reasons: SAFETY (not only to give the safety instructions before take off, but to give instructions in an emergency situation), and also for COSTUMER SERVICE. I don´t know how a crew would be able to give a good service, if they can´t even communicate with their costumers.
I have to tell that in the return flight to MEX, instructions were translated into spanish in the video tape, but Im not sure if there were a FA that spoke spanish, at least I didn´t see any..
P.S. Next March I will fly from MEX to FRA with LH, let´s se if the story changes.. I hope to find some spanish speaking crew on board..

[Edited 2005-01-03 06:45:00]
ElPelon
 
lincoln
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 2:44 pm

Spike - Sorry, but American's don't actually speak English. They speak a stange mix of incorrect words and grammaticaly incorrect sentences. Plus a huge amount of BS.

 Big thumbs up

I would ask "Are you sure it isn't the other way around?" but it would seem you had the language first...

I had a great professor (US History, no less) a few semesters back who had immigrated from England like 20 years ago... We used to joke about needing someone to translate from English to English so we could understand her lectures.

Lincoln
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
PHXinterrupted
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 2:59 pm

"Sorry, but American's don't actualy speak English. They speak a stange mix of incorrect words and grammaticaly incorrect sentences. Plus a huge amount of BS."

Just consider yourself lucky to be part of the American Empire.
Keepin' it real.
 
NumberTwelve
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 3:02 pm

Mtnman: "If you ever noticed even on a domestic flight like MIA-NYC or MIA-LAX FA's say everything in Spanish and English and the safety video too.

It should be done on International flights, but this is America and if you live here you SHOULD learn and know English!!!"

First of all: the passenger is customer and if there are lots of passengers with another native language (f.e. flights to Florida) it would be good service to speak another language too. Search for an inner-Spanish flight or inner-German flight where they only speak their language! How would you react if they don't do? "...but this is Spain..." .

I flew with AA from FRA to DFW and no single flight attendent spoke German, I flew EI from FRA to DUB and the pilot spoke fluent German - I flew QF from SIN to BNE and the flight attendent spoke German .

Hopefully you remember your post when you are in a foreign country and want to talk to the people in English language.
I had the experience that lots of English native speakers didn't even ask people if they speak English and just talk. And that wasn't in the US. Just think about it - and a plane is not just "within a country", it's a transport system with lots of intl. customers.


Mtn, in Germany we would say: put down your right hand! It's already stiff

[Edited 2005-01-03 07:17:01]
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CO7e7
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 4:55 pm

From experience I can tell you that CO has F/A's that speak hebrew on their TLV routes. (I fly this route at least 2 times per year roundtrip).
 
atmx2000
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 5:58 pm

Sorry, but American's don't actualy speak English. They speak a stange mix of incorrect words and grammaticaly incorrect sentences. Plus a huge amount of BS.

At least some Americans know how to spell "actually" and "strange" and "grammatically." Moreover, one who uses the possessive form "American's" instead of the plural noun "Americans" as the subject of a sentence should not be talking about the grammatical structure of other people's sentences.  Acting devilish
ConcordeBoy is a twin supremacist!! He supports quadicide!!
 
swisskloten
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 6:04 pm

This brings up a recent event. I was flying to ZRH from DFW. I have done this three times in the past and they never gave the information in any other language but English. For Christmas last year, my jaw dropped open when the gate agent gave the information in English and then switched to German. Why have I never heard them do this the other three times I flew to ZRH? Is this a new policy at AA? And were they speaking Schweizer Deutsche or Hoch Deutsche? I think the f/a said "Guten tag. Herlich willkommen an bord." That was probably Hoch Deutsche but do dialects count? I feel pity for the poor German who has to put up with such confusion; I know I was confused!
 
Jalalabad
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 6:22 pm

american and british went their separate ways several hundred years ago. our linguistic ancestors spoke just as valid forms of british as yours. the roughly 300 years of atlantic separation obviously caused our societies and languages to develop independently..
 
andz
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 6:56 pm

One additional language is okay, but last time I flew Swiss all the announcements were made in German, Italian, French and English! Good job the flight wasn't a short one  Smile

South Africa has 11 official languages (!) but the announcements are only made in English, and the language of the origin or destination country. Usually the F/A making the announcements will say hello and goodbye in English, Afrikaans, and 2 of the indigenous languages.




After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
 
QuestAir
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 9:41 pm

In 1999 I flew ORD-SFO on American and the safety briefing was in English and French. On the return leg, the safety briefing was in English and Spanish!
'Do we carry rich people on our flights? Yes, I flew on one this morning and I�m very rich.' - Michael O'Leary
 
flylondon
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 11:14 pm

At least some Americans know how to spell "actually" and "strange" and "grammatically." Moreover, one who uses the possessive form "American's" instead of the plural noun "Americans" as the subject of a sentence should not be talking about the grammatical structure of other people's sentences.

Hahahahaha, excellent! Welcome to my respected users list.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 11:40 pm


It should be done on International flights, but this is America and if you live here you SHOULD learn and know English!!!


While I agree with the sentiment, the United States does not officially have a national language.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Spike
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Mon Jan 03, 2005 11:51 pm

Sorry, I thought I was spelling it your way for you actually. Maybe I should have just stuck to centre on that! Still, if the US continues to bombard the world with shoddy grammar and spellingm what d'u expect? That's why W.Bush was so intent on learning the basics at the kindergarten.
 
jacobin777
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Tue Jan 04, 2005 12:50 am

"Just consider yourself lucky to be part of the American Empire."

you mean the FALLING American Empire...


also, our English is substandard and pathetic.......speaking and spelling. It makes matters worse when some people try to legitimise "ebonics" as some form of English..........rubbish! is what I say......

yes we've evolved over the past 300 years from the Brits (God save the Queen!), but our English has degenerated too....some say its evolved, but I beg to differ...........just like Urdu is a derivative of Arabic, Farsi and Punjabi....its been a bit beastialised ...and I speak fluent Urdu too....

uneducated Brits (God Save the Queen) still speak better English (in terms of Grammar at least) then their U.S. counterparts.....

actually, as a whole, I find Brits (God save the Queen) to have more class and manners than our U.S. Counterpart......yes, there is trailertrash on both sides of the pond, but we the people of the United States of America have one too many of them

ok..i'm done...
"Up the Irons!"
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Tue Jan 04, 2005 1:02 am

It is a constant source of amazement (and amusement) to me that my English is better than that of about half the "native speakers" (US and UK) that I encounter. So much for being a foreigner.

But then again, I'm rather pedantic about grammar and spelling in any language.


I leave you with the lyrics to "The Folk Song Army" by Tom Lehrer, another enemy of bad grammar. Note especially the fifth paragraph.

One type of song that has come into increasing prominence in recent months is the folk-song of protest. You have to admire people who sing these songs. It takes a certain amount of courage to get up in a coffee-house or a college auditorium and come out in favor of the things that everybody else in the audience is against like peace and justice and brotherhood and so on. The nicest thing about a protest song is that it makes you feel so good. I have a song here which I realise should be accompanied on a folk instrument in which category the piano does not alas qualify so imagine if you will that I am playing an 88 string guitar.

We are the Folk Song Army.
Everyone of us cares.
We all hate poverty, war, and injustice,
Unlike the rest of you squares.

There are innocuous folk songs.
Yeah, but we regard 'em with scorn.
The folks who sing 'em have no social conscience.
Why they don't even care if Jimmy Crack Corn.

If you feel dissatisfaction,
Strum your frustrations away.
Some people may prefer action,
But give me a folk song any old day.

The tune don't have to be clever,
And it don't matter if you put a coupla extra syllables into a line.
It sounds more ethnic if it ain't good English,
And it don't even gotta rhyme--excuse me--rhyne.

Remember the war against Franco?
That's the kind where each of us belongs.
Though he may have won all the battles,
We had all the good songs.

So join in the Folk Song Army,
Guitars are the weapons we bring
To the fight against poverty, war, and injustice.
Ready! Aim! Sing!



EDITed to correct grammar in first sentence. LOL!

[Edited 2005-01-03 17:07:22]
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
AA767400
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Tue Jan 04, 2005 1:20 am

NunberTwelve, Are you sure no German on DFW-FRA? Because that route has a 777, with three German speakers, one in each cabin. Plus, the safety announcements are in both English, and German.

But this is a normal occurrence system wide, on any International flight, as well as any domestic flight that has a large number of non-English speakers. In fact, American's Flight Attendant union has objected to the company placing SO many Speakers on flights, while violating their bidding seniority. But American stands very firmly on their speaker program, and sees it as a sharp advantage.

SwissKloten, This is nothing new. AA, has English,German, and French, on their ZRH flights. Everything is in all three languages, trust me, I know....I Work on there all the time. If there is no German speaker, it's because they were short German speakers that day.
"The low fares airline."
 
afay1
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Tue Jan 04, 2005 2:59 am

On DL's JFK-SVO route, annoucements are made in Russian and English and the menus are bilingual. I pity any foreign tourist arriving at many US airports as there is little or no information available in their native languages and good luck finding transportation info in any language.....
 
flpuck6
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Tue Jan 04, 2005 7:15 am

I'm American, I speak French everyday at work ... Spanish too ...

but then again, I'm working for a European carrier ...
Bonjour Chef!
 
AMS
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Tue Jan 04, 2005 7:18 am

Also I am a U.S Citizen, and I am Fluent in Dutch, German and Japanese!!
 
wingnutmn
Posts: 491
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Tue Jan 04, 2005 10:24 am

My favorite was when I was in Europe last spring, and my flight from AMS to VIE, the pilot first spoke in dutch, then German, then English. I took 3 semesters of german in college, and I was having a blast seeing if I could understand the pilots and flight attendants. I figured that I understood about %50-60 of the german when I was translating it against the english. I know that NW gives all of their announcements for their NRT flights in both English and Japanese. They didn't give any anouncements in Dutch though when we were going to AMS....

One last thing about translating languages......I love it when you see the 8 or 9 year old child interpreting english into the parents native language. I see it all the time when people are connecting through MSP from both the NRT and AMS and LGW flights.

WingnutMN
Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing! It's a bonus if you can fly the plane again!!
 
NumberTwelve
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Wed Jan 05, 2005 2:10 am

Spike: "Sorry, but American's don't actualy speak English. They speak a stange mix of incorrect words and grammaticaly incorrect sentences. Plus a huge amount of BS

PHX"Just consider yourself lucky to be part of the American Empire."

GB is a part of the American Empire?

Am happy that English is not my native language, so I am allowed to do some mistakes  Wink/being sarcastic . And we learn English at school, not American English or Aussie English. Some people here (Germany) just think it's cool to talk American accent but I guess there's no doubt that the US english is kind of accent or slang.

[Edited 2005-01-04 18:17:42]
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panamair
Posts: 3759
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2001 2:24 am

RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Wed Jan 05, 2005 2:47 am

OK, back to the topic, here's a rundown of which airline has what:

On all US carriers serving internationally, 99% of the time there will be English and the language of the destination spoken on board. The 1% of the time where it's only English is when it's a flight to a destination where they have relatively few speakers (e.g., a Turkish speaker at DL for JFK-IST) and that person has called in sick or they didn't have enough speakers. In terms of fluency, UA and DL have the best for transatlantic flights; NW and UA for Pacific (obviously); and AA for Latin American flights (especially since they have some bases in South America). UA and DL have benefited greatly from their inheritance of Pan Am's employees, many of whom are either European nationals or naturalized Americans having grown up in Europe.

Here are some observations about other international airlines:

SQ: has German and French speakers (from Singapore) for Europe; has Japanese and Chinese speakers on Asian flights

JL: has some Europeans on Europe-Japan flights

AF: Chinese and Japanese interpreters

BA: Quite a few European-language speakers on transatlantic flights

LX: Always English, German, and French; has Japanese f/as on NRT flights; got rid of their Indian and Thai f/as when downsizing. Most memorable flight for me was ZRH-GRU-EZE in 2003 where five languages were spoken whenever the Maitre D' made announcements (Eng/Fr/German/ Spanish /Portuguese)

LH/AY/QF: Japanese, Chinese, and Thai speakers on Asian flights

And the crown goes to :

Emirates: where else can you get: English, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Thai, Japanese, Swahili, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, Slovakian, Erdu, Tamil, Chinese, and Farsi all on one flight?

Runner up: Delta. On some JFK-Europe flights, you can often get English, German, French, Swedish, Italian, Finnish, and Spanish (and sometimes even Japanese or Chinese) courtesy of the ex-Pan Am f/as based at JFK.
 
FLY2LIM
Posts: 1095
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Wed Jan 05, 2005 3:06 am

At least some Americans know how to spell "actually" and "strange" and "grammatically." Moreover, one who uses the possessive form "American's" instead of the plural noun "Americans" as the subject of a sentence should not be talking about the grammatical structure of other people's sentences

That puts you in my respected users list, Atmx2000

It should be done on International flights, but this is America and if you live here you SHOULD learn and know English!!!

It is statements like these that make Americans appear arrogant, lacking in culture, and just plain stupid at times. Funny how foreign carriers have crew that have learned multiple languages at school and are open to helping anyone in any language. Americans, for the most part, don't bother learning a second language and are threatened by someone who speaks a different tongue.
By the way, I was born in a Spanish speaking country. I learned German until the age of 13, then I moved to the United States and learned English. I can now say that I speak it better than most of the people I come across. Typically, I don't use a spell checker since I have almost flawless spelling in either English and Spanish. Finally, I work as a Spanish teacher in the public school system in California. So I know of what I speak.  Smile

On all US carriers serving internationally, 99% of the time there will be English and the language of the destination spoken on board. The 1% of the time where it's only English is when it's a flight to a destination where they have relatively few speakers (e.g., a Turkish speaker at DL for JFK-IST) and that person has called in sick or they didn't have enough speakers. In terms of fluency, UA and DL have the best for transatlantic flights; NW and UA for Pacific (obviously); and AA for Latin American flights (especially since they have some bases in South America)

Now, I do have one complaint. Any time I take a flight to/from LIM, the English used by the crews is horrible. I can seldom understand the instructions. I rely on the Spanish version to understand what the message was. Luckily, the emergency instructions are done via pre-recorded tape, or else no one would understand them.

FLY2LIM
Faucett. La primera linea aerea del Peru.
 
NumberTwelve
Posts: 1393
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Wed Jan 05, 2005 3:14 am

Well said, Christian, it's the behavour ("they have to speak our language") that makes some people arrogant. And not only in their own country, but also in other countries, when they even don't ask if people there speak their language or accept their currency.

The English announcements in Latin American planes is a little different: it's the (bad) accent but people try to do their best, I guess. Better trying to do the best than being ignorant.
But also for me it's difficult to understand American English in some planes when they talk too fast and wich slang. Sometimes more easier for me to understand English that isn't spoken from non-English native speakers  Wink/being sarcastic)

Have a friend in Australia and they know how horrible their accent is - but it's great to hear and there's always lots to laugh about.
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NYCAAer
Posts: 595
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2004 10:22 pm

RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Wed Jan 05, 2005 3:39 am

For the record, at AA we have one foreign language speaking flight attendant assigned to each cabin. So if you're on a 2-class 767-300 to CDG, there will be one French speaker in business and one in coach. On a 777 to NRT, there will be on Japanese speaker each in first, business and coach. Of course, sometimes, something will happen and you will have no speakers or just one speaker. My last 3 trips to CDG, I have been the only French speaker on board. I'm still tired from them because I was pulled in every direction to translate.
 
ltbewr
Posts: 12361
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 1:24 pm

RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Wed Jan 05, 2005 3:40 am

Many times the safety videos shown on the IFE systems will be available in several languages, just change channels for the appropiate language. Some European airlines may have multilple languages available, like English, their base country language and a third, depending on the mix of pax. On a LH flight FRA-EWR, the 3d language used was French, as we had a large number of French speakers on board.
Usually within the USA, the 2nd language will be a generic Spanish, not necessarly Puerto Rican or Mexican, but that may vary depending on where an airline mostly serves into. Most USA airlines reservations web sites and call centers offer Spanish as an option. Sometimes if an airline serves into Canada, then a Generic French (not necessarly Canadian/Quebec French) version of the safety video is available and at least one of the f/a's will have some French speaking ability.
 
KateAA
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 10:41 pm

RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Wed Jan 05, 2005 3:52 am

Hey,

As many of you know I work for American airlines. I tend to speak to passenger's in their home language, I can speak English, French, German, Swedish & Greek (folks where not American and grew up moving around Europe).

People always look quite surprised that a crew member on an American airliner has spoken to them in their own language - but I think this is just the basics of being nice and polite to someone.

A lot of crew members feel that if we have a passenger flying with us, they should be spoken to in English - I strongly disagree with them!

Kate.
 
FLY2LIM
Posts: 1095
Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 6:01 am

RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Wed Jan 05, 2005 4:51 am

Kate:
I added you to my respected users list. Any AA crewmember who works as hard as you do gets my respect. (I am a loyal AA pax)
Where did you learn your languages anyway?
NumberTwelve:
Thanks for the comment. I do see many Americans who arrive in a foreign land and expect people to speak English. Again, mainly a result of sheer ignorance. Luckily, I know many Americans who love to travel in foreign lands and make huge efforts to learn the language and "blend" into their society. I tend to be good friends with them.
Thanks again,
FLY2LIM
Faucett. La primera linea aerea del Peru.
 
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Starlionblue
Posts: 17053
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RE: Foreign Language Use At US Airlines

Wed Jan 05, 2005 6:54 am

A lot of crew members feel that if we have a passenger flying with us, they should be spoken to in English - I strongly disagree with them!

On a US carrier I will expect English but be pleasantly surprised by any other language. It's free customer satisfaction!


Thanks for the comment. I do see many Americans who arrive in a foreign land and expect people to speak English.

My favorites are those who, when English doesn't seem to be working, start repeating themselves slowly and LOUDLY, as if that would help... Big grin
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

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