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Friday, 28 July, 2000, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Are Indian air travellers snobs?
India's Minister for Civil Aviation, Sharad Yadav, says Indian air passengers are snobs because they don't talk to each other on flights.

He said they should behave more like passengers on Indian trains and buses where people greet each other and chat freely. He also criticised them for pushing and shoving in the race to get off the plane.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments belowl


Your reaction

Mr Yadav should concentrate on improving services to passengers both at airports and aboard aircraft

Pinakin Acharya, UK
I have travelled quite a bit and in my experience most passengers do not have conversations with people sitting next to them. Mr Yadav should stop complaining about the passengers of Indian origin and concentrate on improving services to passengers both at airports and the aircraft.
Pinakin Acharya, UK

There's nothing worse than having a talkative person sitting next to you on a long flight.
Arun Rao, San Francisco, USA

Bickering over such a trivial issue when there are matters more urgent to be taken care of. With people like Sharad Yadav at the helm what can one expect?
Ankush, India

Mr Yadav should know that unlike a train, one can't walk about freely on an aircraft and engage in conversations with people

Suranjan Ray, India/ USA
Mr Yadav is making an issue out of a non-issue. In many of my air travels, I have had good conversations with Indians and non-Indians alike. In some travels, I had reserved persons sitting next to me. Also, Mr Yadav should know that unlike a train, one can't walk about freely on an aircraft and engage in conversations with people.
Suranjan Ray, India/ USA

I will talk to any good looking gal who sits next to me or else I am bored and would rather try to fall asleep or read a magazine.
Sumit Jain, California, USA

Is the honourable minister forgetting that his government pays for a huge number of people on flights? How many ordinary Indians can afford to travel by air? If he finds the average air passenger to be rude and snobbish, perhaps if he checked he would find many of his colleagues who think that they are somehow better than the hoi polloi who vote for them.
Bibhu Sen Gupta, India

I went to India for business and I found that the poor or the "common" man of India is actually very friendly, open, and treats you like a brother. It is the rich, upper class India, that is rude, inconsiderate, snobbish, ill mannered and selfish. It is they who yelled anti-Pakistan abuse at me, not the poor people.
Masfoor Elahi, Pakistan

I think this problem is due to India's caste system as well as regional and religious conflicts

Jagdip Singh, USA
I think this problem is due to India's caste system as well as regional and religious conflicts. There is a lot of discrimination between castes as seen in recent news reports.
Jagdip Singh, USA

I think Mr Yadav is quite true with these statements. I have experienced such situations, but we should also not forget that he is performing for an audience and has some personal agenda.
Abhay Patil, Australia

Are Indian air travellers snobs? Absolutely. They can afford something that the majority of Indian citizens will never have and that seems to have gone to their heads.
Ashish Mishra, Canada

Maybe passengers could discuss the appalling service, I'm sure that would keep the conversation going for at least 12 hours.
Harjinder, UK

Any one talking of snobbish behaviour on aircraft has obviously never travelled on the London Underground!
Chaitanya Mukherjee, London, UK

I think Mr Yadav is ignoring a whole class of Indians who have a great sense of humour blended with intellect

Chris, France
I have had the pleasure of travelling with Indians on various flights. I think Mr Yadav is ignoring a whole class of Indians who have a great sense of humour blended with intellect. They are very good conversationalists.
Chris, France

I agree with Mr Yadav's point of view. However, one thing he forgot to mention was that the flight staff are equally snobbish.
Ajay Jasra, India

In my opinion, this phenomenon is not unique to India. Air travellers the world over are much more reticent and withdrawn compared to those travelling by bus or train. The only reason I can think for this is that people in flight are somehow not comfortable or relaxed enough to strike up spontaneous conversation with others.
Anand Narayanan Lyengar, India & USA

The point is to have a comfortable atmosphere so that the journey becomes a pleasure

Syed Tashfeen Bokhary, USA/ Pakistan
I do not think you can pinpoint Indians and say that they are the only snobbish people while travelling. I have travelled with a lot of snobbish people from all over the world. It has more to do with the personality of the person in the seat next to you. The point is to have a comfortable atmosphere so that the journey becomes a pleasure.
Syed Tashfeen Bokhary, USA/ Pakistan

I think this is another case of Indians denigrating themselves. I have found no difference in the behaviour of Indians compared to non-Indians in flight. In fact, I would prefer an Indian to sit next to me, because we would have much in common.
Pradeep Thomas, UK

Indians, as such, have been very reserved compared to people in the West. In earlier times, village and rural people used to be friendly but now with the population explosion and various social problems, the culture and attitude is changing.
Venkat Pillay, USA

I, for one, am quite content to keep to myself during long flights. I feel no obligation to engage in mindless chatter nor do I expect others to do so

Arup Dutta, Canada
I, for one, am quite content to keep to myself during long flights. I feel no obligation to engage in mindless chatter nor do I expect others to do so. I am quite pleased with the behaviour of those passengers who act in a civilised and reserved manner.
Arup Dutta, Canada

Only a small fraction of Indian people (upper middle-class) can afford air travel and they see themselves as the elite and cream of society. They have a big ego problem and do not want to acknowledge other human beings. I think in India where there is a wide division between rich and poor, the rich have lost all human values. The problem is not only limited to air travel but all other places frequented and dominated by the rich.
Dinesh Agrawal, USA/ India

Sharad Yadav is quite adept in playing to the gallery. Like any Bihari politician, he is also trying to create a class in travelling by painting air travellers as upper-class and the rest as lower-caste
Ganesh Sundararajan, Canada

In India when people travel by bus or train, they fight and scrabble to get a seat even in reserved compartments

Gopal S, USA
I have travelled by air in India, USA and Europe and I do not see much difference in the attitude of my fellow passengers on any these routes. I fail to understand what Mr Yadav wants. In India when people travel by bus or train, they fight and scrabble to get a seat even in reserved compartments.
Gopal S, USA

I, too, have travelled extensively across the world. And 90% of the time I have had non-Indians sitting next to me. They do not talk or socialise even despite the conversation being initiated by me.
Darius Engineer, Hong Kong

I agree with what Sharad Yadav said. I have travelled extensively in India, as well as outside. In India, my experience with fellow passengers was far better in buses and trains than in any airline. Most of the time, air passengers are inconsiderate, arrogant and boorish.
Sanjay Kulkarni, India

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14 Jun 00 | South Asia
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