Disclaimer: I am 100% positive that this post is going to have more counter attacks than positive feedback. I have read so many bad reviews about MEA that I decided to give my opinion on the airline as I am sure that there are many content and happy Cedar Miles travelers around the world, yes Lebanon included.
A week ago as I was boarding my flight back to Lebanon, I came across an article written by a fellow blogger on Middle East Airlines. I was intrigued and I read it, although the title made it clear that it was another same old rant on the crew and everything related to MEA.
We, as Lebanese, have one default that we carry everywhere we go. That default is that we like to nag and we tend to follow the mass’s opinion. MEA feedback, unfortunately, fell into this category.
Since almost everyone has a personal grudge against MEA, I would like to take the time and opportunity to share my experience with the aircraft institution itself. Beware, its shockingly positive.
First and foremost, they attack the crew. Female employees, especially in the customer service hub in the Middle East, have never been recognized for their full work potential. I know I have been there. They have always been seen as sexual objects, especially when presentable and good looking. According to most of the ‘men’ traveling with MEA, most of the air hostesses are flirtatious. Furthermore, they claim that they are of no help when passengers are boarding and during the flight. I travel MEA and I have always witnessed the helpful interaction between the hostesses and the passengers. Yes, most of them are gorgeous and the rest presentable and impeccable. Now if you are a horny person (as most Lebanese men are) traveling to a certain place, you are bound to be attracted to one of the crew member. Their job description consists of smiling and being courteous. Anyone working with customers know this rule. If they weren’t, you would label them as arrogant and rude. And when they do cater to your every whim, they are whores on air. Please, before labeling employees in any kind of work environment, make sure to use your head and no, not the one dangling in between your legs. Respect to the women working in customer service and taking crap from customers, with a smile.
Second of all, they nag about the entertainment system provided in the carrier. I have never had any problems watching two movies and a set of comedy shows while traveling from and to Beirut. The system never stopped nor my movie went unfinished. I mean come on, seriously? 50% chance that your station will not be working? No one ever on any airplane I used had that problem. They make it sound as if the whole Airbus has gone Awol technologically speaking. There is a wide range of english and arabic speaking movies to chose from, 21 min sitcoms and cartoons for children. With common sense, and mathematical skills, you would time your flight hour and accordingly watch a full set of movie or two. Now if you are flying for three hours and you started your second round of movie (each one being approximately close to two hours) of course you are not going to finish it in the air. Do the math and don’t blame your unfinished business on an external factor (as usual Lebanese made).
Furthermore, some people think that traveling means being upgraded de facto from one’s every day life to a few hours of luxury whim. They expect to be eating 5 star meals prepared by some notorious chef. They expect air hostesses to be enslaved to their every minute comment and add to that to be enamored by their Middle Eastern chivalry. The meal you are receiving is a meal catered to your journey. You have the choice to pre- order a special meal based on your diet. Yes some other aircraft company have contracts with Michelin star cooks, yet one cannot compare the services of each and every aircraft. The money that is channeled to MEA cannot be compared to the wealth that is behind Emirates Airlines. One cannot compare The Waldorf Astoria in New York to The Intercontinental chain of hotels in Lebanon. Yes they are within the same industry, yet they have a certain difference in the details in services and so on so forth. You can put up a few minutes of adverts during the beginning of your flight. Shouldn’t you be proud that MEA is promoting your country to the many tourists using the airline? Patience is a virtue. Last but not least, gone are the days that a crew member is asking people to shut their phone off. We have reached a point that we, them included, know that there is a switch on any smartphone that enables the plane mode on. Hence, I have never seen them ordering phone closure on board.
I am a person who has a fear from flying. However, I have an unprecedant trust in MEA captains and crew. Yes I have traveled with many other airlines and witnessed the rude hostesses who act all high and mighty. The turbulence I went through and the way the captain handled the aircraft was amateurish at its best. When I board MEA, all my fear go away.
This year MEA celebrates its 70th Birthday and the posters that are up around the city reminds us, citizens of Lebanon, that we should be proud to have a fully fledged and up and working airline serving us all. I am sure that there are many out there who share my opinion and have had a good experience flying on board of Sky Team. However, their voice is over shadowed by the frequent unhappy flyers who blow out of proportion their dislikes. And as everything Lebanese, added are the ones that tag along and exaggerate their experience.
The good thing with everything in this world is that people are given choices to chose from. And if you are discontent, your choice lies with another airline.
I am happy to fly with Sky Team.
And that is a personal choice.