Flying domestic is not something I do often, I think actually four times in my life if I count the return flights to Kittilä last week. And as before, flying domestic with someone non-Finnish makes one take another perspective as one tries to explain the behaviour of one´s fellow citizens.
Already on the flight to Kittilä, it was pointed out to me that the Finnair flight attendant allowed a Finnish man visibly drunk to occupy the seat in front of the emergency exit. I was informed by my company (someone who knows more about flying than anyone I have met) that this actually counts as a violation of airline protocol.
On the way back it got worse on the plane. The positive side was that we got to test the new Finnair Airbus 330-300, which will be used for flying to New York. It was the first week of the plane and things looked brilliant. The revamped Finnair colour scheme makes the cabin seem much more spacious and the new seats make you keep a good posture.
But as the plane was filled with Finns ending their one-week holiday either in Ylläs or Levi, it smelled like the empty bottle room of Alko. Big portion of the customers were visibly drunk already when boarding the plane. We actually changed our seats on the last minute due to the odour created by the people behind us. I managed to catch the frightened looked on a face of a young father who was forced to sit with his one-year-old in the middle of the Boozy Family. And the 5 euro charge for alcohol on domestic flights did not stop the people from boozing up more. I mean hey, last moment of holidays.
I am not blaming the cabin crew for slacking, I am sure they do not love the drunks in the back of the plane anymore than I do. After moving back to Finland from the Netherlands I have been in quite a number of situations where I notice how differently people and institutions tolerate overuse of alcohol in public transport, at stations not to mention restaurants. The Finnair case seems to be just another example of Finns looking the other way when the drunk is making another situation uncomfortable - or even risky as in the case of the emergency exit - for the rest of us.
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