A quick message from Abu Dhabi’s free wifi
April 29, 2010
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Fuck yeah, Abu Dhabi knows how to treat its airport passengers.
Anyway. Bit weirded out at Doha – the flight (it's a 35 minute flight, by the way, which is terribly un-green) was mainly full of men who seemed to be from the Indian sub-continent, probably construction workers if I had to hazard a guess. There were two other Westerners on board, a couple, and one other woman, a middle-aged Middle Eastern woman. Queueing for check-in, an Etihad staff member decided I shouldn't have to queue with all the men and ushered me into the (empty) business class check-in. At the gate, I queued up with everyone else and was again shooed to the front, at which point the local middle-aged lady clearly realised I didn't have a clue what was going on and made it her business to stay next to me until we were all on board, so I didn't make any other cultural cock-ups. Once on the plane I was happily ensconced in a window seat, but a cabin crew member asked if I wouldn't prefer to switch to an empty row of seats just behind. For a 35 minute flight, getting up, moving my stuff and disturbing the bloke next to me? Nah, I'll stay put, thanks.
I'm not going to pretend it wasn't handy to jump the queue, but to do it because I'm one or both of white and female? Not so cool. I don't like being singled-out at the best of times and this was… rather embarrassing, like being transported back to the (not so distant) time of the British protectorate. More on cultural racism and sexism at a later date – we're about to be called.