Business (not) as usual

Posted by at 15:09

It was months after 9/11 that I visited New York again. I felt awkward and expected to find a completely different city to the one I knew from former visits. But when I walked through the streets, nothing seemed to have changed. As an occasional visitor I didn’t connect to the heart of the city-that-never-sleeps like the ones who live, love and work there do. So I just saw the outside: business as usual.

I hesitated to visit Ground Zero but I decided to do so, if only to pay my respects to the people who died there and to all those who lost a loved one. But on seeing all the flowers, photographs and notes, I felt like an intruder. What happened on that 11 September hit the whole world, but to me this place felt like something only for New Yorkers.

I hadn’t been to Japan since the earthquake of last March.I’ve just returned from a flight to Tokyo. I hadn’t been to Japan since the earthquake of last March. Again, I felt awkward to go there. What would be the stories of our Japanese passengers on board? And of our Japanese colleagues who are part of the crew on these flights?

And I did hear stories, but I knew I couldn’t feel the heart of this country, like I couldn’t feel it in New York. In the hotel, a young couple got married: they celebrated and looked happy, as did their family and friends. Business as usual. But I know their life isn’t the same as it was before that day in March.

As airline crew, we visit places where disasters take place and the world turns upside-down for their inhabitants. We hear about it in the news and the next day we fly there, to return to our safe base a few days later. Most of the time you  just see the outside, which makes it tempting to ignore that there is an inside which I, as an outsider, don’t get to see.

Caroline

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6 Responses to Business (not) as usual

  1. Simeon Ouyang

    The golden pavilion in Kyoto : nice picture !

  2. Simeon Ouyang

    The golden pavilion in Kyoto : nice picture !

  3. 04

    Hi Caroline,

    You must be brave to fly to Tokyo with your crew, I guess you have to since this is your job. You couldn’t feel the hearts of the people in Tokyo and New York, can you feel the heart of a 16 yrs old girl who is afraid to fly to Tokyo but KLM wouldn’t let her cancel or even not to re-book her ticket to another destination because of the “rules”?
    She fears the consequences of posibble radioactive radiation and although there are no figures published about it, what kind og “holiday” would it be when you are afraid to spend your time in Tokyo? You see, you have to fly there because this is your job, we have to fly there too because we are passangers who bought their tickets in advance… Is this is what KLM does to “early birds”?

    • Caroline

      Thank you for reading my blog. For me it doesn’t feel like brave to travel to Tokyo since I’m convinced that KLM wouldn’t send me to a destination if it isn’t save to go there. The same goes for our customers. I was informed that immediately after the earthquake passengers were able to cancel or reschedule their ticket since it wasn’t sure whether it was safe to travel to Tokyo. As from April 15 Government and international organizations eased the travel alerts and re-affirmed that it was safe to travel to/from/through Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. I truly wish you a pleasant flight to Japan and hope you will feel comfortable in this lovely country.

  4. 04

    Hi Caroline,

    You must be brave to fly to Tokyo with your crew, I guess you have to since this is your job. You couldn’t feel the hearts of the people in Tokyo and New York, can you feel the heart of a 16 yrs old girl who is afraid to fly to Tokyo but KLM wouldn’t let her cancel or even not to re-book her ticket to another destination because of the “rules”?
    She fears the consequences of posibble radioactive radiation and although there are no figures published about it, what kind og “holiday” would it be when you are afraid to spend your time in Tokyo? You see, you have to fly there because this is your job, we have to fly there too because we are passangers who bought their tickets in advance… Is this is what KLM does to “early birds”?

    • Caroline

      Thank you for reading my blog. For me it doesn’t feel like brave to travel to Tokyo since I’m convinced that KLM wouldn’t send me to a destination if it isn’t save to go there. The same goes for our customers. I was informed that immediately after the earthquake passengers were able to cancel or reschedule their ticket since it wasn’t sure whether it was safe to travel to Tokyo. As from April 15 Government and international organizations eased the travel alerts and re-affirmed that it was safe to travel to/from/through Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. I truly wish you a pleasant flight to Japan and hope you will feel comfortable in this lovely country.

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