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September - October 2004
One Heart
 
 

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 courtesy Jeroen Stroes.

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.

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.

Part of the cabin crew of the Eritrean Airlines flight to Asmara:
Tsegai, Wintana, Meron, Meraf and Hertema.

 

 
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