Amsterdam - Asmara Eritrea - September 16th 2004
Living in Holland, Eritrean
Airlines and Lufthansa are the only acceptable alternatives to fly to
Asmara. The other carriers cannot provide efficient transfers at the
stopovers. Eritrean Airlines however, is the carrier that offers you one
day extra in Eritrea. Your holidays will start on the plane itself. Apart from the fact
that the plane, the food and the seats have the same quality as the
Lufthansa Airbus, the staff of Eritrean Airlines offers just that little
extra: service with a natural smile. The crew is born in a country where
hospitality is so common that it isn't a result of a chapter in a manual,
but common practice.
And when I am in a position to
help Senait, who has to carry her just born baby, her luggage and the
baby-carriage, I am only to glad to accompany her on my way to the plane.
Gives me the feel of being part of the family.
Eden, flight attendant at my
previous flight to Asmara, recognizes me. "Have you brought our
pictures?" she asks. I did, and give them to the crew when we are waiting at
Milano Malpensa Airport. We discuss them in the small kitchen of the plane, where
I picture some of them again, promising the crew I will bring their pictures next
time. Pictures are popular in Eritrea, and if you return to bring them the
copies, it will link your heart to those surprised by this small gift.
Procedures in Asmara are as
usual: fill in the entry card in the plane, passport check, double check
and extra check, so have your passport at hand when leaving the plane. Fill in a form
for the (electronic) camera's, and if you have bad luck: a luggage check
(for other electronic devices).
On this September evening it
is actually cold in Asmara. Gebrehiwot and Mebrat are waiting outside. I
greet Gebrehiwot, using the typical Eritrean shoulder greeting, bumping
each others right shoulder three times. Although I do my best, Gebrehiwot does not allow me to carry my luggage.
"You will need some rest after the long flight!" he says.
Eritrean Airlines Boeing 767 -
300ER leaving Amsterdam Airport.
Photo © 2004 - courtesy Jeroen Stroes.
Flight attendant Meron serving drinks on board of the Eritrean Airlines plane.
Part of the cabin crew of the Eritrean Airlines
flight to Asmara:
Tsegai, Wintana, Meron, Meraf and Hertema.