• this is india

This is India! (seven)

Welcome back to This is India! I always have funny/weird stories about India to share with friends or family when I talk to them. This is just meant to be an honest portrayal about my life in India through short anecdotes. I also share here what I’ve been up to online outside Werkenntwen.

What I was up to other than here:

  • The Ultimate Journey Tips from some of the World’s Top Journey Bloggers on Scribble, Snap, Journey

Now your story,

One time leaving Bombay to NY, the American flight attendants on United Airlines almost had a meltdown over trying to get the Indian passengers to put their luggage in the overhead bins.

I kid you not, one got on the intercom and frantically said, “If you do not all sit down and let us put your luggage up, this plane WILL NOT TAKE OFF! YOU CAN STAY RIGHT HERE IN INDIA! SIT DOWN!” They must draw straws to see who has to do this 16 hour flight because they were all miserable to be working it.

What was the issue with the passengers? Well it’s hard to name just one (I mean the seat-switch requests alone were out of control, and there were multiple men demanding the flight attendants put their iPhones on charge), but I think the main issue was everyone wanted to put their luggage in the overhead bins near the front of the planeeven if their seat was in the back.

Why? I would guess so they don’t have to carry down the isle or so they can run to the front when the plane lands and get off first. The flight attendants were losing their minds over it!

If you’ve ever been on a plane or train in India you know exactly what I’m talking about. Everyone wants off first! It’s a fight to baggage claim where they will then fight to stand closest to where the luggage comes out on the belt.

If you haven’t, it’s really hard to explain without sounding mean… but it’s not a lie: people here get pushy. Really pushy. For some reason standing in line isn’t a “thing” in India as you saw in my last This is India story, and even though you’d think aboard an aircraft with lots of Indian business men this would be different, I can assure you after about 100 flights here, it is not! Some Indian stereotypes are certainly true, just like stereotypes anywhere else.

When the plane lands, typically people exit their seats from front to back, but on Indian flights there is no order to it- the people in the isle seats get up and off first then the rest of the people fight to exit.

So the flight attendants yelled, I laughed, it was the start of a terrible 16 hour flight. The little four year old next to me would tap my arm every two seconds, “auntie, can you change this show … auntie, can I have some of your chocolate… auntie, are you 40?… auntie your glasses are too big, you look funny”.  We only took off 30 minutes late and we landed on time. The little Indian girl slept on me almost the whole trip but she was too adorable to care, and her pregnant mama was too tired to notice.

This is India!


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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Ken Kai July 18, 2014 at 2:02 am - Reply

    I’m going to India I think! My mum wants to go there actually and I’ve had a few model friends who went there for films! One of my friends though did the whole Yoga experience. Have you done that before Rachel?

  2. Ashley July 18, 2014 at 11:02 am - Reply

    Lol oh man, that sounds like my worst nightmare. I hate when people are pushy- especially on planes! I need to mentally prepare myself for this before going to India haha.

  3. Justine July 18, 2014 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    I’m loving these stories! I don’t understand why people are in such a rush to get off of planes. I noticed a similar thing when I flew in the Philippines. As soon as the plane landed the passengers threw their seat belts off and crammed themselves into the isle — and the plane hadn’t even stopped moving! It was such a funny cultural habit.

    • Rachel Jones July 19, 2014 at 7:16 am - Reply

      how funny! Maybe it’s an Eastern thing in general, I’m not sure.

  4. Michael July 18, 2014 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    It’s like the people who insist on rushing the boarding gate at airports – it’s not like you’re not going to get on the plane. Drives me nuts! Stuff like this is why I much prefer overland travel.

    • Rachel Jones July 19, 2014 at 7:17 am - Reply

      haha yeah I hate that too! The only time I even line up to get on instead of going last is when I know the plane is booked too full and I have breakables in my carry-on which I hate when they force-check luggage for the last boarders!

  5. Silvia July 19, 2014 at 1:38 am - Reply

    I always fly Air India (I mean, Indian food on an airplane? yum!) so this post made me laugh out loud. So true! The craziest flights I’ve been on have been around the Middle East, though, where no one gives an f what the flight attendants tell them to do. On my flight to Iran everyone was standing pretty much the entire time, visiting friends around the plane, and some even dancing. The flight attendants seemed to just give up completely, ha.

    • Rachel Jones July 19, 2014 at 7:19 am - Reply

      haha that’s so funny. I’ve always wanted to learn more about the middle east culture!

  6. Renuka July 20, 2014 at 6:29 am - Reply

    These funny plane stories are actually true. People are crazy here in India!

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