The recent trip back home was my first international flight on ANA since arriving in Japan some four years ago. Rather, it’s the first non-SIA flight I took since I discovered the quality and comfort SIA has to offer. However, due to the very expensive ticket prices, I decided to give ANA a shot this time.
Unfortunately, I sprained my back days before the flight so ANA is not to blame for any discomfort I felt. To the contrary, some of them made me feel better than I would have felt if they hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary. The more interesting thing was, I made the same request on the trip from Japan to Singapore and on the return leg from Singapore to Japan, but received totally different responses.
Japan to Singapore
At Haneda airport during check-in, I told the ANA staff that I had sprained my back and the seat next to the one I reserved had no one when I last checked, so I hope they can, as much as possible, leave that seat empty so that I have room to shift and rest my back.
The lady immediately went to check on her system and came back very apologetically telling me, “I tried locating empty rows for you but there were too many people so I couldn’t shift you. But I’ve blocked the seat next to you so nobody can choose that seat. I’ve also informed the flight crew so they will help you carry your stuff when you arrive at the gate.”
I arrived at the gate, and a lady carried my souvenir bag and laptop bag, boarded the bus to the plane with me and handed them to the crew on board. The flight attendant who took over my baggage then carried them all the way to my seat.
During the flight, each time I had to stand up to ease the pain on my back, a flight attendant who sees me would ask me about my back. That was when I realised the entire crew knew about my back even though my brace was well-hidden under my clothes.
When the plane arrived at Singapore, a flight attendant came and helped me carry my baggage all the way to the plane door and told me she would hand it over to the ground staff and continue the walk to the luggage collection belt. Note that all this time, the people who helped me were female staff.
At the plane door, the flight attendant handed my baggage to a male ground staff at Changi airport and told him to help me carry it out. But after walking 10 steps with me, this man decided to ask me how many pieces of luggage I have checked in and when I told him “just one,” he said, “OK, I will go and help you carry it down first and wait for you there.” I thought, “Wow, great service!” But he then handed all my baggage to me and ran off to the luggage collection belt. =_=” Apparently, he didn’t understand I couldn’t carry them. So my pace to the baggage area slowed drastically.
Singapore to Japan
At Changi airport during check-in, I told the ANA staff that I had sprained my back and the seat next to the one I reserved had no one when I last checked, so I hope they can, as much as possible, leave that seat empty so that I have room to shift and rest my back.
The male staff said, “Hang on, sir. Let me check.” He caressed his keyboard for a while and told me, “OK, sir. There’s no one next to you yet.”
I’m not judging.