hardiwv
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KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:37 am

Yesterday flew KLM as usual AMS-GRU WBC and not a single FA who could speak Portuguese. This is yet another KLM flight to GRU without any announcement or crew who could speak the native language of the destination country.

I am fully aware that KLM's crew has a very good command of many European languages: perfect English, German, or French. In flights to China and other Asian destinations KLM uses native crew to assist with language deficiencies.

However, GRU remains a black spot in KLM network. I hear complain after complain from my own witness and other colleagues that KLM operations in GRU never have a native speaker - although KLM is making excellent returns on GRU operations, which explains it will be the launching destination of KL B77W.

AF recently recruited 70 native Brazilian FAs to improve its service onboard. It is high time KLM follows suit.

Rgs,
 
Doona
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:38 am

I've been on several KL, AF, AZ and BA flights to Denmark and Sweden where the crew did not speak Swedish or Danish.

Cheers
Mats
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jwenting
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:43 am

Flown on a lot of US airlines between the US and Amsterdam and never encountered an FA who spoke Dutch. I don't however complain about it.
Same with the Aeroflot flights between Moscow, Leningrad, and Amsterdam I've been on, Tarom, RAM, Tunisair, and others.

As long as an FA speaks the language of the airline's host country and English that's good enough for me. Anything else is a nice bonus, but I don't see it as a sign of bad service.
I wish I were flying
 
hardiwv
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:44 am

Quoting Doona (Reply 1):
I've been on several KL, AF, AZ and BA flights to Denmark and Sweden where the crew did not speak Swedish or Danish

1. GRU is a long-haul destinations, which should offer different product and FA assistance if compared to short-haul destinations;

2. Portuguese is the 5th language spoken in the world;

3. Denmark and Sweden nationals are known to have perfect command of English - different from native Brazilians. Btw, in my last flights KL AMS-CPH Danish was spoken onboard.

4. If KLM adopts native FAs for flights to China and Asian destinations, why cant it do the same for GRU?

Rgs,
 
hardiwv
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:47 am

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 2):
As long as an FA speaks the language of the airline's host country and English that's good enough for me. Anything else is a nice bonus, but I don't see it as a sign of bad service.

Point taken. However, my argument is that KLM could improve its service to GRU providing native language FA onboard its flights. KLM does the same for its operations in China. AF is doing the same for its flights to Brazil. LH recently introduced the same for all flights to India and China.

GRU is a very profitable destination for KLM, launching of the B77W, and therefore I think KLM could also offer a "dedicated" FA service in similar lines it offers to China.

Rgs,
 
panamair
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:49 am

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 2):
Flown on a lot of US airlines between the US and Amsterdam and never encountered an FA who spoke Dutch.

Huh? Both DL and UA at least have quite a few Dutch speakers; I have always had Dutch speakers when flying AMS-JFK (DL) and AMS-IAD (UA) over the past few years...
 
MEA-707
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:50 am

There are relatively more high yield business passengers to places like Tokyo and Hong Kong to make this effort worth it.
I don't think it's a huge issue, I imagine relatively many Brazilians who visit North West Europe will manage English, and usually there are not that many indepth discussion topics to speak with flight attendants about in the first place. Guess they'd figured out the portuguese words for chicken or beef by now.
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
 
hardiwv
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:51 am

Quoting Panamair (Reply 6):
Huh? Both DL and UA at least have quite a few Dutch speakers; I have always had Dutch speakers when flying AMS-JFK (DL) and AMS-IAD (UA) over the past few years...

The same hear: have in my records plenty of flights AMS-JFK with DL and all of them with Dutch native speakers.

Rgs,
 
FLYGUY767
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:55 am

Quoting Hardiwv (Thread starter):
Yesterday flew KLM as usual AMS-GRU WBC and not a single FA who could speak Portuguese.

For as great of an airline KLM was, they currently have a lack of foreign language skills. I have been there as well. Meaning I have flown KLM a few years ago (2003) on a GRU-AMS-MXP routing. The crew from GRU-AMS had no Portuguese speaker. At least the announcements were not made in Portuguese. The flight from AMS-MXP had no Italian speaking F/A, in fact all announcements were made in English and Dutch. It is very interesting considering the languages I have seen spoken with fellow European airlines Lufthansa, Air France, and British Airways.

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 2):
Flown on a lot of US airlines between the US and Amsterdam and never encountered an FA who spoke Dutch.

Delta, Northwest, United, and Continental all recruit Dutch speaking Flight Attendants. It is a question if they are being used for their language routes. The answer probably is not, since on a flight last year to Brazil the Flight Attendant on my Continental Airlines flight that was making the announcements sounded like she was reading the announcements in Portuguese phonetically, and truly should not have been qualified to speak the language. Additionally I have noticed that US airlines have a severe lack of reading materials, movies, and audio programming in the destination language.

The pay for speaking a Foreign Language with a US based airline truly is a joke.

-JD
Summer Trip 2007: DEN HAAG>DUBAI>LONDON>VERONA>COSTA SMERALDA>CAPRI
 
cslusarc
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 2:04 am

Lets talk about NW, KLM's North American partner. Until their latest round of bankruptcy, their collective agreement with their flight attendants did not have any rules regarding route language proficiency. Although in the late 90s NW did hire route language capable fight attendants, they had relatively lower seniority than most of the unilingual Anglophone FAs. Since international flight pairing were more desirable they were filled by the unilingual FAs rather than route language bilingual FAs. Now the FA collective agreement gives NW more flexibily to mandate that its international flights are staffed with international route language qualified FAs.
--cslusarc from YWG
 
FLYGUY767
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 2:13 am

Quoting Cslusarc (Reply 9):
Until their latest round of bankruptcy, their collective agreement with their flight attendants did not have any rules regarding route language proficiency. Although in the late 90s NW did hire route language capable fight attendants, they had relatively lower seniority than most of the unilingual Anglophone FAs. Since international flight pairing were more desirable they were filled by the unilingual FAs rather than route language bilingual FAs.

You can thank the unions for all of that!

-JD
Summer Trip 2007: DEN HAAG>DUBAI>LONDON>VERONA>COSTA SMERALDA>CAPRI
 
LVTMB
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:19 am

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 2):
As long as an FA speaks the language of the airline's host country and English that's good enough for me. Anything else is a nice bonus, but I don't see it as a sign of bad service.

Agree. I don't see a problem here ....

MB
 
MCIGuy
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:25 am

Man, how expensive would it be to accomodate all languages? This is like when people immigrate to the US and they all want govt. services in their native toungue, it would be far too expensive to do so.
Airliners.net Moderator Team
 
jwenting
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:34 am

Quoting Panamair (Reply 5):
Huh? Both DL and UA at least have quite a few Dutch speakers; I have always had Dutch speakers when flying AMS-JFK (DL) and AMS-IAD (UA) over the past few years...

Doesn't mean they're always on duty...
Both airlines have at least 2 flights a day to and from Amsterdam. So they'd need at least 8 FAs each speaking Dutch (given crew rest times) to have a decent coverage, and those people'd never get to fly another route.
And even then, you'd only encounter them if they were assigned to the section of the cabin that your seat is in.
I wish I were flying
 
LVTMB
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:36 am

Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 12):
This is like when people immigrate to the US and they all want govt. services in their native toungue, it would be far too expensive to do so.

Exactly. I thought of the same analogy.

MB
 
FLYGUY767
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:43 am

Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 12):
Man, how expensive would it be to accomodate all languages? This is like when people immigrate to the US and they all want govt. services in their native toungue, it would be far too expensive to do so.

You sadly are equating two things that have not one single thing to do with the other. Immigration, and Customer Service. Both are two separate issues. I will leave the immigration for a non-aviation discussion.

When it comes to the Global marketplace, for which the airlines are in. An increased presence in foreign language's is required. Emirates, British Airways, Etihad, Air France, and others are all heralded for their outstanding use of foreign language speaking crews. Todays marketplace is a very different one from 30 years ago. Seniority or not, you are going to be seeing a lot more language speakers on international flights. It is a selling tools, and the US airlines are starting to see the importance in that. They have recruited Foreign Language Speakers for years, yet only recently has it become evident that they are being put to use.

I commend Delta Air Lines for hiring only Foreign Language Speaking Flight Attendants, this shows their commitment to the international marketplace. Not every country speaks English, and not every dollar earned on US airlines are American.

-JD
Summer Trip 2007: DEN HAAG>DUBAI>LONDON>VERONA>COSTA SMERALDA>CAPRI
 
bastew
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:50 am

At BA, GRU is a very high yield business route. The route uses the high J configured 747 most days and the Club World cabin (70 seats) is consistently full. In the european winter an additional 3 services are operated per week due to high business demand. We have 3 Sao Paulo based crew on the route, 1 works in Club, 2 in economy.

I think the problem in terms of KLM is it is essential that an airlines international based crew has a good command of the language of the airlines home country, as well as their native tongue. While it is probably quite easy for airlines like BA to source brazillians with good english , or Air france to find brazillians with good french it might be difficult to find a big pool of brazillians or portuguese with a good command of dutch to select from.
 
Lan1981
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:51 am

Quoting FLYGUY767 (Reply 15):
When it comes to the Global marketplace, for which the airlines are in. An increased presence in foreign language's is required. Emirates, British Airways, Etihad, Air France, and others are all heralded for their outstanding use of foreign language speaking crews.

As do I; however, on BA European flights due to there being no requirement for language speakers it is not unusual to end up with Finnish speakers on a London-Madrid service, and Spanish speakers on a London-Helsinki service...
 hissyfit 
 
FLYGUY767
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:55 am

Quoting BAStew (Reply 16):
While it is probably quite easy for airlines like BA to source brazillians with good english , or Air france to find brazillians with good french it might be difficult to find a big pool of brazillians or portuguese with a good command of dutch to select from.

Interestingly, I was told when KLM recruited in China and Japan the requirements were fluent Chinese or Japanese and English. The converstions between crewmembers aboard the aircraft would be in English. However, the announcements would be made in Chinese/Japanese, Dutch, and English.

I am unable to verify if this is true however..


-JD
Summer Trip 2007: DEN HAAG>DUBAI>LONDON>VERONA>COSTA SMERALDA>CAPRI
 
diesel33
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 5:40 am

Quoting Hardiwv (Reply 3):
4. If KLM adopts native FAs for flights to China and Asian destinations, why cant it do the same for GRU?

Rgs,

I have flown KLM's route AMS-MNL and have never encountered a Tagalog (Filipino) speaking FA.
 
MCIGuy
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 5:48 am

Quoting FLYGUY767 (Reply 15):
You sadly are equating two things that have not one single thing to do with the other. Immigration, and Customer Service. Both are two separate issues. I will leave the immigration for a non-aviation discussion

While the two issues are indeed two seperate issues, they do have somethine to do with each other. Be it the US govt. or an airline, attempting to accomodate all languages means greatly increased expense both in terms of numbers of staff and related salaries. I've worked for more than one major corporation and given the same position, they paid more for associates who spoke Spanish or French. Not to mention the sheer numbers of employees you're talking about if you want to cover all the languages you're likely to encounter. In the rare case you get someone who speaks several different languages they're going to demand a much higher salary because of it. It's just simply impractical for a government or an airline.
Airliners.net Moderator Team
 
bastew
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 5:54 am

Quoting FLYGUY767 (Reply 18):
Interestingly, I was told when KLM recruited in China and Japan the requirements were fluent Chinese or Japanese and English. The converstions between crewmembers aboard the aircraft would be in English. However, the announcements would be made in Chinese/Japanese, Dutch, and English.

Guess this would make sense.

Quoting Lan1981 (Reply 17):
As do I; however, on BA European flights due to there being no requirement for language speakers it is not unusual to end up with Finnish speakers on a London-Madrid service, and Spanish speakers on a London-Helsinki service...

I guess this is because it would be difficult to recruit accurate amounts of foreign language speakers for european routes. EU law would firstly prohibit us from refusing anyone a job because they are spanish or french and we need finnish, swedish and danish speakers. Secondly, the job would be a lot less attractive for the language speaker concerned. European routes are operated by the short haul crews. Most people do this job for the obvious advantage of travelling to many cities. Because someone is french does not mean they want to spend every working day flying backwards and forwards to paris, lyon and nice. They want to fly all over europe.

Foreign based crew are not just about language ability but also cultural awareness. Our Indian based crews are not really necessary from a language perspective as the large majority of indians speak english. But from a cultural perspective, they are imperative. Same for our japanese based crew. Obviously their language abilities are essential on our NRT flight but their cultural knowledge is also imperative.
 
FLYGUY767
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:03 am

Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 20):
I've worked for more than one major corporation and given the same position, they paid more for associates who spoke Spanish or French.

You would be shocked to know what little compensation foreign language speakers for US airlines make. The compensation often times does not mitigate the workload that follows suit with speaking the language of the destination. For example in the US, most airlines as a general rule only pay $1.50 to $2.25 per hour in addition to the normal pay. So if you are on a 9 housr flight to Italy and you are the speaker all you would make is $13.50 to $20.25 additional than other Flight Attendants on that flight that are not language qualified. The problem is the airlines for the most part do not compensate well enough for a person of foreign language proficiency to remain loyal to that airline.

My base salary at my employer is $64500.00 a year, I am a foreign langauge skilled person and in saying so I am required to travel often for my position. That additional pay is $9200.00 per year. My position includes a variety of skills, of which my foreign language skills are vital. There are of course other incentives and bonuses which bring my salary much higher than that.

Up until a month ago I was considering a return to the airlines. However, to my shock the pay was less than poverty level at $1327.50 per month base salary from the airline. If I broke that into a 40 hour work week, that would only be $8.29 per hour! It is amazing. I worked for an airline up until 2001. The salary I was making for that airline was $26.90 per flight hour, plus an additional $2.00 per flight hour for language pay. At the end of the month I would make about $2930.00. Compared to what the airlines are starting at now. That is a shocking distance. I guess it goes to show what they value their employees at.

-JD
Summer Trip 2007: DEN HAAG>DUBAI>LONDON>VERONA>COSTA SMERALDA>CAPRI
 
hardiwv
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:16 am

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 6):
There are relatively more high yield business passengers to places like Tokyo and Hong Kong to make this effort worth it.

GRU is a top yielding route for KLM, which explains it will be the launching destination of the B77W.

I dont want to get into the many merits of this debate. However, the point is that KLM must accord GRU its equivalent status as am important market and therefore offer equivalent service, i.e. native language onboard. KLM has been offering specif products for China and India for some time now. For the same reason AF recently recruited 70 native Brazilian FAs.

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 6):
don't think it's a huge issue

This is an important issue, which has important marketing dimensions. As a FF AMS-GRU I can realise the problems of many pax when it comes to language issue onboard KLM. I myself as Portuguese speaker have to help pax everytime. Not even announcements are made in Portuguese.

Quoting FLYGUY767 (Reply 15):
Emirates, British Airways, Etihad, Air France, and others are all heralded for their outstanding use of foreign language speaking crews.

100% correct. In fact, all European airlines flying to Brazil use Brazilian crew on their flights: BA, LH, LX, AF, IB, AZ. KLM is the only ailrine without Brazilian crew. It is a shame.

Quoting BAStew (Reply 16):
At BA, GRU is a very high yield business route. The route uses the high J configured 747 most days and the Club World cabin (70 seats) is consistently full. In the european winter an additional 3 services are operated per week due to high business demand. We have 3 Sao Paulo based crew on the route, 1 works in Club, 2 in economy.

For KLM, GRU is also a very high yielding route - one of the most profitable in its network. Therefore my statement that the destination has to receive equivalent treatment in the product to places such as China and Japan - for which KLM uses local crew.

Quoting BAStew (Reply 16):
it might be difficult to find a big pool of brazillians or portuguese with a good command of dutch to select from.

You have a point, however, in the case of China and Japan, KLM's local crew only have command of English and the native language and they communicate with the Dutch crew in English.

Rgs,
 
RIXrat
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:57 am

Maybe if after all the languages listed above, if the passengers don't understand them, in particular Portuguese, maybe they should fly on TAP.

In all seriousness, most of my experiences with languages aboard aircraft, is that an FA will play a tape of that language after the native and English version during the safety demonstration. After that, customer service is a toss-up.
 
incitatus
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 7:43 am

I've flown US-Brazil without a single flight attendant that spoke Portuguese. Prior to closing the door the Portuguese speaking gate agent came on board and let everybody know that.
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Viscount724
Posts: 18838
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:00 am

On most of my KL flights, both longhaul and shorthaul, when there are no flight attendants fluent in the destination language, they normally have recorded announcements in the local language covering safety information and arrival/customs/immigration procedures etc.

Quoting RIXrat (Reply 24):
Maybe if after all the languages listed above, if the passengers don't understand them, in particular Portuguese, maybe they should fly on TAP.

That's why many passengers, especially from countries where most people speak only their national language, prefer to travel on their national carriers or a carrier where they know they will be able to communicate in their own language. Many Japanese passengers prefer JL and NH for that reason unless a foreign carrier's fare is significantly lower.
 
Rafabozzolla
Posts: 968
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2000 1:27 pm

RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:37 am

About AF. My cousin has just been hired as an Portuguese Speaking FA for Air France. She speaks both French and English (as well as Portuguese, of course). But AF is expanding so aggressively in Brazil, and is in such need of Portuguese speaking FAs that, at the recruitment agency she learned that minimum requirement was fluency in Portuguese and English only. No French required!!! That is customer care for your non native pax. And we are talking about a French company.

Of course she had a good head-start and is now going to France to start job training.
 
hardiwv
Posts: 4341
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2004 11:30 pm

RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 5:09 pm

Quoting Rafabozzolla (Reply 27):
But AF is expanding so aggressively in Brazil, and is in such need of Portuguese speaking FAs that, at the recruitment agency she learned that minimum requirement was fluency in Portuguese and English only. No French required!!! That is customer care for your non native pax. And we are talking about a French company.

This is my point. Currently all European airlines flying to Brazil have native Brazilian crew, except for KLM. My point from the beginning was that KLM provides such service for selected destinations, e.g. China and Japan. KLM should do the same for GRU.

I hope that AF will share some of the more than 70 Brazilian FAs it is recruting with KLM....

Rgs,
 
planemanofnz
Posts: 1529
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:46 pm

RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 5:27 pm

Quoting Hardiwv (Reply 3):
2. Portuguese is the 5th language spoken in the world;

Most people speak English today, especially very basic English if they are rich enough to be using an aeroplane.

Quoting Hardiwv (Reply 3):
different from native Brazilians.

No offense, but, I think that the majority of pax travelling on KLM out of GRU would either be foreign business people or tourists or if they were from Brazil, they would have some knowledge of English (enough to order a drink etc) if they are rich enough to be the high yielders of the flight.
 
hardiwv
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Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2004 11:30 pm

RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 5:36 pm

Quoting Planemanofnz (Reply 29):
No offense, but, I think that the majority of pax travelling on KLM out of GRU would either be foreign business people or tourists or if they were from Brazil, they would have some knowledge of English (enough to order a drink etc) if they are rich enough to be the high yielders of the flight.

This is not the point. I am saying that as part of the product enhancement KLM should offer Brazilian crew in the flight to GRU considering that about 50% of pax are Brazilians. KLM does the same for China and Japan, it should follow suit in Brazil. Also, and I will repeat, currently KLM is the only European carrier operating in GRU without native crew.

This was the reason why AF decided to recruit more than 70 Brazilian FAs - and the yields of AF to GRU/GIG are higher than KLM. AF knows that native crew is a major factor to capture local market.

I am only giving an opinion and recommendation to KLM: if it want to keep GRU as a winner flight it needs to introduce local crew, as ALL other European carriers do and as KLM already does to some selected routes (China, Japan, etc).

Rgs,
 
MEACEDAR
Posts: 682
Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2006 1:57 am

RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:12 pm

When I use to fly KL to BEY in the summers, the flight crew didn't speak Arabic.

I see these on many airlines, especially U.S. Airlines.
 
Pyrex
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Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 7:24 am

RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 7:30 pm

Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 20):
I've worked for more than one major corporation and given the same position, they paid more for associates who spoke Spanish or French.



Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 20):
In the rare case you get someone who speaks several different languages they're going to demand a much higher salary because of it.

And what is the problem with that? It is not like you are paying a woman less to do the same job as a man or something like that (which would be discrimination), more skills = more pay, as simple as that. If it weren't for that what would be the point in self-improvement?

Quoting Hardiwv (Reply 23):
all European airlines flying to Brazil use Brazilian crew on their flights: BA, LH, LX, AF, IB, AZ

What about the largest one, TPBig grin
Read this very carefully, I shall write this only once!
 
TYCOON
Posts: 436
Joined: Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:20 pm

RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:24 pm

My two cents: I completely agree with Hardiwv's point - a very valid one. As we have all demonstrated, Brazil is an important country in the global economy hence the increasing yields airlines are seeing on these routes (and the subsequent increases in capacity), and everything is pointing to it becoming even more important in the future (up there with China and India, although my personal bets in the long term are with Brazil).
Not having Portuguese speaking flight attendants for a quality airline such as KLM is mind boggling. It's OK if you are just ordering a drink to spit out a little English or make hand gestures. But what if you are ill, there is an emergency on board, etc... Your school-boy/girl knowledge of English is not going to get you very far. We often think the FAs are just there to pass out drinks, but they are first and foremost there for our safety.

Personally, I would not be comfortable flying an airline that did not have a crew that spoke my language (or at least one of the four I speak, one of which is Portuguese).
 
bastew
Posts: 740
Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:21 pm

RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:39 pm

It isn't just about a language with local based crew. It is also about their knowledge of their country. For example on a BA flight from LHR-GRU we have thousands of questions we are unable to answer. Do domestic flights go from the same terminal as we arrive in? Do passengers have to collect their bags to clear customs first? How far is the airport from the city centre and how can we get there? What sort of customs documentation for the liquor/duty free bars do us (the crew) have to complete? How do you say 'chicken' and 'beef' in portuguese? lol

Of course our brazillian based crew are not there as tour guides or information officers. But having someone on board whom a) speaks the language and b) can answer a passengers questions on arrival into GRU or brazil can give an airline a competitive edge.

[Edited 2007-06-20 13:58:43]
 
MEA-707
Posts: 3661
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 1999 4:51 am

RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:54 pm

Quoting Diesel33 (Reply 19):
I have flown KLM's route AMS-MNL and have never encountered a Tagalog (Filipino) speaking FA.

Most Filipinos are good (enough) in English, same like for instance in India, Singapore etc. were English is widely spoken, at least compared to China, Japan etc.
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
 
hardiwv
Posts: 4341
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2004 11:30 pm

RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:38 am

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 32):
What about the largest one, TP?

No need for local crew, I assume!  Smile

Quoting TYCOON (Reply 33):
I completely agree with Hardiwv's point

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Quoting BAStew (Reply 34):
Of course our brazillian based crew are not there as tour guides or information officers. But having someone on board whom a) speaks the language and b) can answer a passengers questions on arrival into GRU or brazil can give an airline a competitive edge.

Totally agree with your point - not only BA has realised this in high-yield, important markets, such as GRU, as all European airlines currently have local crew in GRU. It is high time for KLM to follow suit and offer a proper product in its operations in GRU.

Rgs,
 
FLYGUY767
Posts: 1441
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 11:26 pm

RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Thu Jun 21, 2007 2:15 am

Quoting Planemanofnz (Reply 29):
Most people speak English today, especially very basic English if they are rich enough to be using an aeroplane.

Your comment seems of a totally arrogant nature. To make a blanket statement that if people are rich enough they speak English is false.

Quoting Planemanofnz (Reply 29):
No offense, but, I think that the majority of pax travelling on KLM out of GRU would either be foreign business people or tourists or if they were from Brazil, they would have some knowledge of English (enough to order a drink etc) if they are rich enough to be the high yielders of the flight.

Yet another comment that is rude and offensive. Remember that English not always the preferred or required second language. In Southern Brazil you are more likely to find people speaking German, Italian, and Spanish in addition to Portuguese than English.

-JD
Summer Trip 2007: DEN HAAG>DUBAI>LONDON>VERONA>COSTA SMERALDA>CAPRI
 
TYCOON
Posts: 436
Joined: Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:20 pm

RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Thu Jun 21, 2007 2:21 am

Quoting Pyrex (Reply 32):
What about the largest one, TP?

Quoting Hardiwv (Reply 36)
No need for local crew, I assume!

Although sometimes the same word in Continental Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese can mean quite different things! LOL!
I remember going through customs at GRU and asking a stern-looking border policeman in my continental Portuguese:
"E aqui a bicha dos norteamericanos?". In continental Portuguese I was simply asking if this was the line for Americans. In Brazilian Portuguese, now that is another story!
 
FLYGUY767
Posts: 1441
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 11:26 pm

RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Thu Jun 21, 2007 2:23 am

Quoting TYCOON (Reply 38):
In Brazilian Portuguese, now that is another story!

Well 9 time out of 10, Brazilian Portuguese is what any traveller to Brazil will have to use.

-JD
Summer Trip 2007: DEN HAAG>DUBAI>LONDON>VERONA>COSTA SMERALDA>CAPRI
 
AUA747
Posts: 110
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:41 pm

RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Thu Jun 21, 2007 2:53 am

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 2):
Flown on a lot of US airlines between the US and Amsterdam and never encountered an FA who spoke Dutch. I don't however complain about it.

I fly several times EWR-AMS on CO and IAD-AMS on UA and all the times they have at least 1 FA that speaks dutch.
 
hardiwv
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Thu Jun 21, 2007 2:55 am

Quoting FLYGUY767 (Reply 37):
Your comment seems of a totally arrogant nature. To make a blanket statement that if people are rich enough they speak English is false.

100% correct. Yields have no correlation to language ability or knowledge of English. In fact, the majority of the Brazilian elite (or the high yielders) do NOT speak English, or if so very poor. As anyone who has visited Brazil should know, English is not spoken even in business circles.

The same could be said about China and Japan, which explains the use of local crew by KLM.

Quoting FLYGUY767 (Reply 37):
n Southern Brazil you are more likely to find people speaking German, Italian, and Spanish in addition to Portuguese than English.

Again you are right, and in fact in many circles in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro you have more people speaking French rather than English.

Quoting TYCOON (Reply 38):
"E aqui a bicha dos norteamericanos?".

 rotfl   rotfl   rotfl 
 
adicool
Posts: 169
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Thu Jun 21, 2007 3:23 am

Does anyone how LH is doing in GRU? I flew with them onc to CCS and they had a few spanish speaking FA.
In general, I think an airline like KL does not need to have FA speaking always the native language of the country of destination, especially since the nordic people for example are known for speaking in English very well...

Edit:
I totally agree with everybody here saying that KL needs to have some Portugese speaking FA on their flights to GRU. I just recently flew with them to Guayaquil and Quito and most of the FA knew Spanish, though very little.

[Edited 2007-06-20 20:32:37]
 
FLYGUY767
Posts: 1441
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Thu Jun 21, 2007 3:28 am

Quoting Adicool (Reply 42):
In general, I think an airline like KL does not need to have FA speaking always the native language of the country of destination, especially since the nordic people for example are known for speaking in English very well...

Loads on KLM for AMS-GRU, and GRU-AMS are much heavier on the Brazilian origination than European origination side.. So in turn, yes as has been stated before KLM needs to seriously look into the recruiting of Portuguese language speakers for this flight. It is a total dis-service to the passengers who make up the majority on these flights, not to have Portuguese speakers aboard.

-JD
Summer Trip 2007: DEN HAAG>DUBAI>LONDON>VERONA>COSTA SMERALDA>CAPRI
 
USADreamliner
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:18 am

Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 12):
Man, how expensive would it be to accomodate all languages? This is like when people immigrate to the US and they all want govt. services in their native toungue, it would be far too expensive to do so.

Ok, you are against immigration...probably another minute men. alright. We get it.




Anywho...My experience with BA ( never flew KL) on long haul flight was always outstanding, on flights to Argentina they always have some Argentinean flight attendants, not sure on flights to Israel, can't remember.
 
hardiwv
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:37 am

Quoting Adicool (Reply 42):
Does anyone how LH is doing in GRU?

LH uses Brazilian crew for both its flights FRA-GRU and MUC-GRU.

Quoting FLYGUY767 (Reply 43):
Loads on KLM for AMS-GRU, and GRU-AMS are much heavier on the Brazilian origination than European origination side.. So in turn, yes as has been stated before KLM needs to seriously look into the recruiting of Portuguese language speakers for this flight. It is a total dis-service to the passengers who make up the majority on these flights, not to have Portuguese speakers aboard.

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Quoting USADreamliner (Reply 44):
BA ( never flew KL) on long haul flight was always outstanding, on flights to Argentina they always have some Argentinean flight attendants

Like all other European airlines, BA uses Brazilian crew for its flights LHR-GRU.

Agree, and I also find a complete diservice of KLM not to use Brazilian crew on its GRU-AMS. In fact, on KL flights to GRU not a single announcement is made in Portuguese.

Rgs,
 
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Embajador3
Posts: 154
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:25 am

Quoting TYCOON (Reply 33):
Personally, I would not be comfortable flying an airline that did not have a crew that spoke my language (or at least one of the four I speak, one of which is Portuguese).

In my opinion, if i wish to hear spanish while travelling, i'll fly Iberia. It is nice to hear my native language if i.e. i fly Malev, however if i find no spanish speaker FA, as long as i can use english i would not complain.
I understand that when flying to GRU with KLM you would love to have portuguese speaker FAs on board. However, i see you live in Holland, so... what's your problem then? you can't please everyone. I suggest that you fly TAM, Varig or BRA on your next trip.

Regards,
Flying Together
 
C010T3
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:47 am

Quoting TYCOON (Reply 38):
Although sometimes the same word in Continental Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese can mean quite different things! LOL!
I remember going through customs at GRU and asking a stern-looking border policeman in my continental Portuguese:
"E aqui a bicha dos norteamericanos?". In continental Portuguese I was simply asking if this was the line for Americans. In Brazilian Portuguese, now that is another story!

Well, you can actually find 30 meanings for "bicha" in the Houaiss Dictionary. Most of them are used in both countries, many have fallen in disuse in only one of them. It is one single language. The difference between the Portuguese spoken Rio de Janeiro and the one in other regions of Brazil is sometimes as large as the difference between Rio de Janeiro and Lisbon. "Continental Portuguese" is not the better terminology for the differentiation between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese.

Quoting Hardiwv (Reply 41):
In fact, the majority of the Brazilian elite (or the high yielders) do NOT speak English, or if so very poor. As anyone who has visited Brazil should know, English is not spoken even in business circles.

That's a real mystery for me. I feel sometimes quite embarrassed, because of that. Most of them say they speak Castilian, in order to say they can at least speak one foreign language, but that's not true. It is funny, at least 90% of the people that say they can speak Castilian is lying.

Quoting Hardiwv (Reply 3):
1. GRU is a long-haul destinations, which should offer different product and FA assistance if compared to short-haul destinations;

2. Portuguese is the 5th language spoken in the world;

3. Denmark and Sweden nationals are known to have perfect command of English - different from native Brazilians. Btw, in my last flights KL AMS-CPH Danish was spoken onboard.

4. If KLM adopts native FAs for flights to China and Asian destinations, why cant it do the same for GRU?

I think you missed the most important argument. For how many decades has KLM been flying to Brazil?
 
nosedive
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:10 am

Quoting RIXrat (Reply 24):
In all seriousness, most of my experiences with languages aboard aircraft, is that an FA will play a tape of that language after the native and English version during the safety demonstration. After that, customer service is a toss-up.

My SXF-RIX-SXF flights were exactly like that, as was my CPH-SXF flight. English, German, and French were all ok. After that... On the plus side, I learned you don't need to know Finnish to get in with the tour group from Helsinki or that you don't need to know Danish to mix it up with the locals  Silly.

Other things I have noticed: MEM-AMS on NW 2005. "Does anyone on board speak Persian?"
DEN-FRA on LH. The gate agent did not know German. Luft-effing-hansa! The guy needing assistance just wanted to board the plane, so I did a fast translation telling him he couldn't board. Luftie. A Star Alliance hub.
 
HnlBoi
Posts: 128
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RE: KLM Language Deficiency: GRU And Others

Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:11 pm

Quoting FLYGUY767 (Reply 15):

Coulndt have said it any better......I agree