Usualmente no escribo en el idioma Ingles pero aveces hay incidentes que quiero que lleguen a una audiencia mas grande de los que normalmente le estoy escribiendo.
Normally I base my trips to different countries on the experiences that I have while there and then decide whether I will return or not. I try to factor in all of the good things and I try not to be judgmental about social customs. I also normally try to not let any one or two persons from muddling my experience. Unfortunately I feel that I cannot say the same for my trip to Japan with flying Turkish Airlines.
Japan is a land that I have always dreamed of visiting since I was a child. A dream that I shared with my younger brother and sister. Now every country has its own culture and customs and coming from a family of frequent travelers I believe that as a guest in another country we should at the very least respect their culture and customs even if we don’t agree with them. We should also try our best not to offend those of the country that is hosting us. That said I also believe that those of the host country should also be lenient with their foreign guests if they should accidentally do something offensive. I do not mean that they should allow a foreigner to disregard their customs but instead inform them properly, without belittling or insulting them.
Now I know that the word “gaijin” is Japanese for foreigner but I also know that it is also used as an insult. I mention this due to an incident at the check in counter as we were leaving Narita Airport to return to Kuwait. You see my younger sister who is traveling with me back to Kuwait had not bought a return ticket to the USA. This is not a problem as Kuwait does not require for her to have one upon arrival. We were at counter 21 for Turkish Airlines approximately 1100hrs trying to check in. The lady asked me for my residency Identification and my sister’s as well. When we replied that she didn’t have one the lady asked for a return flight to the USA. So we proceeded to explain that she would not need one in order for her to enter Kuwait. She then nodded and proceeded to get confirmation over the phone. After a couple of minutes a Turkish employee and a Japanese employee, both male, came over and said without explanation that “no she cannot fly without a return ticket”. This was a done a very brusk and impolite manner. When I tried to explain that being an American or from the European Union, Kuwait would not require that she have one. The Turkish guy said it didn’t matter and that would be required to buy her a return ticket. This made me irate, I must confess. These two “managers” were displaying the worst customer service I ever seen in my life. It was this so called customer service that made raise my voice some and inquire how they were expecting that I by the ticket as I had no money. It was then the Turkish guy said, “we don’t care. No return ticket then she doesn’t fly”. Once again I tried to explaining that was not needed. The following response from the Japanese guy was definitely uncalled for,”I don’t care if you’re American. Japanese is better that American.” It was at this point that my younger brother who was taking a later flight to Los Angeles came to try to intervene. The Turkish guy tells my brother that he would talk to him but not me. While my younger brother and sister were off in another corner with the Turkish guy trying to find a solution, the Japanese guy tells me that I have no right to complain. So I asked him did he mean I have no right to complain because I am not human. He then replied that, “Yes you are not human”. I then asked him if this was the so called Japanese politeness I always heard about. His response was that Japanese were better at politeness than Americans. I really don’t know what his shtick with Americans is but after that he threatened to ban me from the plane. I felt so threatened that I couldn’t say anything else. It was then that the Turkish guy had my sister sign a waiver. A waiver, wow, why couldn’t he just have done that from the beginning.
It is due to this experience that I have decided to never again fly Turkish Airlines and to never again return to Japan. The sad part about it is that I had been planning a return trip. I do not like the idea if going to a country that doesn’t want me. I also advice those who are planning to go to Japan to rethink this if they are American citizens. It seems that not only are we disliked by the Turks but by the Japanese as well. #japaneseembassykuwait #turkishairlines #turkishembassykuwait #usembassykuwait