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Drucocu
Topic Author
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:17 am

FA's not speaking English

Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:25 am

Hello!

I'm pretty sure this isn't the most intelligent question on here. But earlier in October I've had 4 flights with AeroMexico (2 long haul, 2 short). On half of those flights, flight attendants did not speak or refused to speak English. When I addressed them in Spanish, they weren't pretty responsive either.

If it were a domestic flight, I could've understood. However, given the fact that those were all international flights (AMS-MEX-PTY), I did expect at least some proficiency in English, even though MEX-PTY was between Spanish speaking countries.

Firstly, is this a common AeroMexico thing where they refuse to talk to you in English or when your Spanish isn't fluent?
Secondly, is there any international law requiring flight attendants to speak a certain level of English, or is it just for the safety briefing?

Not to bring down AM. 2 of the flights were a pain in the ass due to the language issues. The other two were very enjoyable. Great service, food could've been better, but except for one FA on one of the flights they were really hospitable and friendly. All in all I thought they were inconsistent but okay.
 
Noise
Posts: 2470
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 1999 7:38 am

Re: FA's not speaking English

Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:50 am

I think it had more to do with their general miserable attitude than their inability to speak English. Case in point, their lack of responsiveness even when spoken to in Spanish.
 
Cory6188
Posts: 2711
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2004 12:29 am

Re: FA's not speaking English

Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:01 am

I've taken AM a few times, and while some F/As had better English skills than others, I can't say any of them were particularly poor at English or notably hesitated to speak with me when I addressed them in English rather than Spanish, On a side note, I was actually pretty pleasantly surprised at how well their ground staff in MEX spoke English - I didn't expect them to have as much proficiency as they did.
 
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gunsontheroof
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Re: FA's not speaking English

Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:04 am

I flew LAX-CDG on AF a decade ago and got the vibe that none of the cabin crew seemed particularly interested in speaking English. A "bonjour" upon boarding was nice, but getting a dismissive response in French when I asked why I hadn't gotten the meal I'd pre-ordered was a little irritating. Haven't had an issue with any of the other carriers I've flown based in non-English speaking countries. TK, AY, KL were all great, even if the attendant's English wasn't particularly strong.
Picked a hell of a week to quit sniffing glue.
 
stlgph
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Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:19 pm

Re: FA's not speaking English

Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:04 am

Same experience on LOT Polish into JFK. As matter of fact, I'm pretty sure I may have been the only fluent english speaker on the plane. You could tell the flight crew just really didn't want to speak it if they didn't have to.

I was sitting on the aisle and pretty soon I was being approached by passengers and flight crew to help them fill out their customs form. One of the attendants finally "came around" and started talking to me in english, and bringing me wine for helping with the cards.
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Embajador3
Posts: 353
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2006 9:28 am

Re: FA's not speaking English

Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:45 am

IMHO, AM's crew have this really bad attitude towards everybody else. At my home airport, I had encountered AMs going through security many, many times. They had always been rude to the airport security staff and won't even respond to a polite salute from us, fellow FA's. If they can not be nice to other fellow FAs or the airport security staff, I guess they won't be more welcoming to fare-paying passengers either. Just my opinion.
Flying Together
 
Varsity1
Posts: 2259
Joined: Mon May 02, 2016 4:55 am

Re: FA's not speaking English

Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:50 am

AM crews have always given off a sour vibe. I'd credit it to a systematic problem of crews not being held accountable for their customer service standards company wide.
 
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chepos
Posts: 7273
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2000 9:40 am

Re: FA's not speaking English

Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:44 am

They are not particularly friendly to us native Spanish speakers either. Funny thing is, on this flight from MEX to CUN I ordered my beverage in Spanish (as I am a native speaker), the FA insisted on addressing me in English. Oh well!
Fly the Flag!!!!
 
DAL763ER
Posts: 532
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:20 pm

Re: FA's not speaking English

Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:02 pm

Had a flight on Futura many years ago between Lisbon and Gran Canaria. None of the flight attendants spoke English, no announcements were made in English. What was funny was that my parents and I were sat in different rows, so they had to order stuff for themselves in Spanish without my help.
 
opticalilyushin
Posts: 812
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:35 pm

Re: FA's not speaking English

Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:54 pm

The only recollection I have from my 700 flights to 75 countries is that in Venezuela English was a little bit hit and miss..well mostly missing on domestic flights, and at the airports. On the other hand I've been amazed at how well it's spoken in small rural parts of Asia on various flights, and with reference to Air France I've had a crew member go out of their way to give me detailed instructions and a drawn map on how to make my short connection/terminal transfer at CDG, all in English.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:33 am

Re: FA's not speaking English

Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:44 pm

gunsontheroof wrote:
I flew LAX-CDG on AF a decade ago and got the vibe that none of the cabin crew seemed particularly interested in speaking English. A "bonjour" upon boarding was nice, but getting a dismissive response in French when I asked why I hadn't gotten the meal I'd pre-ordered was a little irritating. Haven't had an issue with any of the other carriers I've flown based in non-English speaking countries. TK, AY, KL were all great, even if the attendant's English wasn't particularly strong.


That's typically French. They find their own language so great they refuse to see that English is the international language. To them, French is all that matters when it comes to languages. Too bad for them since I don't speak any French. I don't expect them to speak Dutch which is my mother tongue, but they can at least speak English.

I've never had a flight attendant of any airline who didn't speak English at all. They're not all equally good at it, specially Spaniards and Italians hardly speak English, but at least they try. I was surprised that the Thai flight attendants on Norwegian spoke almost fluent English, I had expected worse but they were really good.
 
PI4EVER
Posts: 817
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 10:29 pm

Re: FA's not speaking English

Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:19 pm

I found three sets of KE crew on flights to/from the US spoke little to no English and while "robotically pleasant" it was still difficult to communicate and understand easy conversation. On F/A had difficulty handing out meal choices not understanding what the passengers were choosing. I had difficulty getting a refill for a glass of wine, and when the F/A returned, smiing broadly and with a bow, simply handed me the entire bottle and walked away.
I thanked her twice for the nice gesture, but she simply smiled
My seatmate and I joked we needed to learn what 'Brace, Brace, Brace" sounded like in Korean.
I flew JL from NRT to GUM this year and every crew member spoke English, on a flight that had maybe 25 Americans or Westerners on board and included being greeted at the door in English as we boarded. Warm, friendly service and 2 F/A's pleased when we ordered the Japanese meal over the Western "cheeseburger" option. The plum wine was delicious and included the crew giving us 2 extra bottles to take off the plane in GUM. Very nice and welcoming service.
watch what you want. you may get it.
 
dfwjim1
Posts: 2495
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:46 pm

Re: FA's not speaking English

Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:08 pm

A number of years my brother-in-law flew from Sao Paulo to LAX on KE and none of the flight attendants spoke Portuguese. It was difficult as he did not speak Korean or English.
 
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AirAfreak
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Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:20 am

Re: FA's not speaking English

Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:48 am

Flying KE ICN-NRT one morning, I was greeted in Japanese by the lovely cabin crew. Since I don't speak Japanese, I spoke to the crew in Korean.

There were 4 dedicated cabin attendants serving my side of the A330. With only 5 passengers seated in J, one would think a memory of me speaking to them in Korean would hold. But no, it was back and forth between Japanese and Korean for the remainder of the flight. Oh well. Lol!!!
Korean Air | Excellence in Flight.
 
spacecadet
Posts: 3582
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2001 3:36 am

Re: FA's not speaking English

Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:01 am

I fly to and within Japan pretty often and while there are always several fluent English speakers on the international flights, domestic flights are hit or miss (as you'd probably expect). I normally travel with my wife, who is a native, and on domestic flights they sometimes tell her she's just going to have to translate for me.

On the international flights on both ANA and JAL, they're not all equally fluent but they all understand at least the basic requests they might be asked, like for food or drink. But I have had some beyond just the purser who were both fluent, almost native sounding, and really talkative. I've never subscribed to the "Asian F/A's are all robots" trope. It's just that many of them only know enough English to do their jobs. But others know a surprising amount and are eager to use it.

That also reminds me of the most unexpected English experience I've had flying, which was at a Starbucks at Haneda Airport, in one of the domestic terminals. I was in line getting all ready to use my very limited Japanese to order, when I hear "Next! I can help whoever's next." No accent whatsoever. I look up and the cashier, who looked just like any other Japanese girl, is looking right at me. I said "You speak English!" and she replied "Of course! I work at Haneda Airport." Again, no accent, but I thought that was an interesting response. I ordered in English but didn't ask any more about hers. But after being surrounded by Japanese for a while, as well as the odd person who can just barely speak a little English, to have this person who was clearly Japanese but speaking English as if she grew up in Nebraska was really jarring, and she acted like everybody at the airport (in the domestic terminal) spoke just as well as she did. (They don't.) It made me wonder if they're all hiding something :)
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