Hello again! So what is it about airports that fascinates people? Popular culture can’t get enough of it, from U2 filming their music videos on the middle of a runway, to central plot lines in movies like Love Actually, which use the airport as a jumping off point into the central motivators of our love and our lives.
There is definitely something sexy about the airport, and for me part of it is the internationality of it all. The airport is the one point where people of all backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, etc. converge in one space for a limited time to all do the same thing, but in their own different way: to fly. It’s like a really fast-paced unchoreographed ballet that is equal parts beauty and insanity.
On our staff in Lufthansa Boston alone, we speak well over 20 languages on a given day. From English and German to Moroccan Arabic, Italian, Albanian, Finnish, Bosnian, French, Lingala and more, we are definitely international – and that’s just the airport staff! Being so international is a great strength for us, because as diverse as we are, it is nothing compared to our passengers.
Our passengers come from all corners of the world and are travelling to all corners of the world. So knowing a bit about other cultures through your colleagues is definitely a great help. I know that sometimes as an American I perceive a passenger is angry with me when they really are only trying to be direct and to-the-point, so I have to take a step back and understand that we have all been taught to interact with strangers differently, and I have to adjust my style of service accordingly.
Lufthansa is not just a German airline – it is a global airline. Working at the airport every day is a crash course in some sort of cultural awareness – from learning the way to say thank you in Turkish (Tesekkür ederim), Arabic (shukran), or Albanian (faleminderit), to being sensitive to the way a visually impaired passenger wishes to be assisted through the terminal, if at all. You live it every day at the airport, so each day is just another opportunity to learn.