After a mad dash across the width of Long Island (2 hours) we arrived at Transaero check-in. It was a mix of Russians (the flight terminates in Moscow), Orthodox and Hasidic jews (our destination is Tel Aviv) and mixed groups formerly part of the Soviet Union, now the Russian Federation. The foreignness started as soon as we entered the line to check in.
We cleared security very quickly. After a single announcement in English a member of the U.S. based flight crew attempted a Russian announcement. The result from an otherwise quite group was applause. After a series of announcements in Russian (none in English) I noticed that we were among the last few people still sitting down. We had scarfed some “dinner” from a food kiosk, fearful of the “inedible” Russian food that would be served on the flight.
I remarked in a stage whisper, observing the long queue that wrapped into the next gate: “The Russians surely love to stand in line.” I got a chuckle from a fellow seated American who nevertheless stood up immediately to join the queue.