October 24, 2020

Expat pilot winning desi hearts in flight with announcements in Hindi

Sources : timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Date :  Sep 16, 2018, 10:24 IST

NEW DELHI: “Is udaan mein aapka swagat hai”. Each time GoAir’s Captain Behzad Rajabi greets passengers with this line, they are pleasantly surprised. What follows the heavily accented welcoming line makes things clear. “Main is udaan ka Captain Rajabi bol raha hoon.” By now passengers know the Airbus A-320 they are flying in is being piloted by an expat pilot. While the German-origin American national is one of the 290 expat pilots working with Indian carriers, he is a rarity in terms of learning the local language and addressing passengers in it. “As an expat if you come here with a closed mind and try to change Indians to where you are from, then good luck to you. The English came and see what happened. But if you change yourself; see, accept and respect them (Indians) the way they are, you are accepted as one of them and treated as their guest,” Rajabi, in his late 40s, said.

Passengers seem to be loving this. “Best pilot I have ever met. Firangi welcoming in Hindi!” Tweeted Shrinivas Devshatwar from his handle @srdevshatwar who recently flew Bangalore to Hyderabad.

Rajabi has been flying with GoAir for 4.5 years. He flies for 12 weeks at a stretch and then gets four weeks off to go back home to his parents in the US. “ I do not shy from talking in that language no matter how bad the grammar is or how it sounds. I try to speak some sentences in the local language with my colleagues, passengers and others I interact with,” he said. Asked if GoAir requested him to pick up a few lines in Hindi, he said he did so on his own. He has been flying for 27 years.

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