An Invaluable Lesson My Chinese Passengers Taught Me

When a young Taiwanese woman, Bao Yen, became an airline flight attendant, she probably did not think the position would lead to her becoming environmentally aware and interested in helping. Awakened and saddened by a Telegraph article highlighting a dead whale that was found to have 30 plastic bags in its stomach, she sent us an article with her suggestions for travelers. She now follows that up by an inspiring story of a group of Chinese passengers who taught her about taking care of the environment when flying.

Bao Yen (on the photo) encourages everyone to consume less and be more.

“A group of passengers from a flight from Qingdao, North-Eastern Province of China, overwhelmed me with their massive hearts and outstanding environmental-friendly manner,” told Bao Yen, contacting us on Facebook.

Placing money on the serving tray

“This happened during my pre-landing cabin check from Hong Kong to Singapore. While some passengers put trash on the serving tray when I walked by, a few from the Mainland Chinese group reached out to their bags for small notes to be given away for Change for Good, the UNICEF partnered in-flight fund-raising program. They didn’t know where to put the money so they just placed it on my tray. Since I had  previously worked as duty-free sales crew member, I know that mass effect works especially well with Chinese people when it comes to selling; little did I know it also applies to donating! Within a few seconds, my tray was full of RMB notes,” she shared an inspiring experience.

“I have never used a tray to collect money! As  I stood in the aisle, I felt a huge impact on my chest as if someone just punched it. I had terrible goosebumps all over,” she recalled.

There were around a hundred and thirty passengers in that group. “How did I know? We had staggering numbers of vegetarian oriental meals on that flight  -133 -, all from the same group. The cabin smelled like steaming rice with oyster sauce and vegetables! Not an ideal cabin for meat lovers,” Bao Yen joked.

She then learned that the group members not only eat in a green way but also live green. The passengers from that group had brought their own water bottles and tumblers and consumed very little on during the flight. When they asked for drinks, most of them passed Bao Yen the coffee cup provided on the tray.

“The white coffee cups, contrary to the one-use only plastic 9-oz cups, will be washed and reused by the airlines,” she emphasized. “I asked them if they’d want a bigger cup for their drink, but they smiled and declined,” she added.

Reuse your cup for all drinks!

The passengers reused their cup for both hot and cold drinks like juice.  “Serving different drinks in the same cup is not our common service practice, however, if it is the passengers’ personal preference, then it can really make a significant reduction of the in-flight plastic waste,” she assured.

Bao Yen thinks, that if you give people a chance to change and the intention behind it is reasonable and good (for example, good for the environment), they will do it!

The group also finished their meal leaving very  little uneaten. “The plates might have been untidy but you could tell they respected the food. During tray collection, they gave me back the unopened small bottle water. The number of the unused bottles I collected at the end of flight was of the most ever in a single flight, considering the load and flight duration,” she commented. According to Bao Yen, such behavior has been unbeatable.

“I told them I admire their highly civilized style and they told me that they bring their own bottles as much as they can,” was Bao Yen impressed.

By consuming less, we become more

Highly motivated and inspired by the group, Bao Yen went home feeling full and grateful. “They are role models and best airline clients I could think of, not in terms of how much they contribute to our profits, but how much quality they bring. Their wisdom should be followed,” she believes.

She quotes Tony Robbins: ‘Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.’ “By consuming less, we actually become more. By caring not only about ourselves but all the other creatures on this planet, we become more. Let’s – things that truly matter in our life, re-live a kinder and greener lifestyle and become much much more,” she encourages everyone to do their part and be more in her Facebook massage to us.

Thank you, Bao Yen, for another powerful reminder that our daily habits, even when we travel, do matter and that people can make a difference. We are grateful to her caring and observing nature and hope you help her to spread the word! Share this article and your experience with responsible traveling with us, with your colleagues, and with your friends!

Read Bao’s tips how to be a better traveler here!