THAI wai flies further

13 Aug 2009

Asian flight attendants are increasingly adopting the traditional
Thai greeting of the “wai” to welcome and thank their passengers.

to a Bangkok Post report, airlines such as AirAsia X, Malaysia’s
AirAsia, AirAsia Indonesia and Garuda Indonesia have adopted the
gesture, which involves putting the palms of the hands together and
bowing as a sign of respect.

While Thai carriers including
national carrier Thai Airways International, have long used the
gesture, the trend appears to have been spread initially by regional
low-cost carrier AirAsia, which has a Thai subsidiary.

most clearly recognisable as a Thai greeting, the origins of the wai
probably can be traced back to India and were spread across Asia during
the several centuries of Hindu and Buddhist dominance. The wai
resembles the Indian “namaste” greeting, the Cambodian “sampeah” and
the Lao “kub” and various other adaptations across Malaysian, Indonesia
and Brunei, the paper says.

Kenny Coyle

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