Well flown, ma’am!

For the politicians, diplomats, European Union officials, lawyers, lobbyists, journalists and other folk who have to fly in and out of Brussels a lot in their course of their duties, Brussels Airlines is a fairly popular choice.

Created in 2006 from the merger of Virgin Express and Sabena, the ill-fated Belgian national carrier, Brussels Airlines is a busy, friendly, no-frills company that in my experience does a good job getting you from A to B in Europe without a great deal of fuss.

With that thought in mind, let’s turn to the Brussels Airlines website and take a look at what the airline calls its ’Praise Form’. This states: ”Brussels Airlines will be delighted to hear from you if you are extremely satisfied with the service you have received. Did you have a great flight or enjoy being served by a comely stewardess? Please tell us about it …”

The Brussels-based traveller who pointed this out to me says he has trouble with the very concept of a ‘Praise Form’, since it is implicitly discouraging you from criticising the service you’ve received.

Be that as it may, the phrase that caught my eye was the one about the “comely stewardess”. It seemed so politically incorrect by today’s standards that I had a look at the French-language version of the same ‘Praise Form’. This reads: ”… or if you have been charmed by the professionalism of our employees …”

So why are English-language customers prompted to sigh with extreme satisfaction and recall the services provided by comely stewardesses, whilst French-language customers are sternly reminded of the professionalism of Brussels Airlines staff?

I don’t know, but I imagine Lufthansa – which is in the process of buying 45 per cent of Brussels Airlines – will want to do something about it.