Have you ever gotten motion sickness on an airplane? Domestic flights within the United States or International flights? On my most recent flight to Qatar and then Armenia, I did. Usually, it would be expected that the airplane crew would just give you a bag, some water, and send you on your way to your next flight. Not here, however. Upon my arrival in Qatar, just an hour before my connecting flight to Yeravan, I was called over the intercom to the front desk. Not only did they inquire as to how I was feeling, they brought in a paramedic on a bike to take my temperature, blood pressure, and ensure I was fit to fly. They made sure I was on a nearly empty bus to the plane and that I was one of the last to board so I would not have to spend extra time on the plane.
I have never before experienced this unique, dedicated treatment amidst similar situations in the past. Why? What makes Hamad International Airport so much more attuned to my health and well-being? Is it just traditions and customs of hospitality that are not seen in other places? One possible reason could be taking steps in the identification and prevention of Zika virus. Where Hamad International Airport has become a well-traveled area for travelers from affected areas, they try to take as many precautions as possible. Boston Logan International Airport is also a hub of many travelers, however, and I have not experienced similar precautions there. There have been reports of virus symptoms in the United States. However, Qatar is less likely to see these virus-carrying mosquitoes.
Armenians also simply have a more welcoming and kinder personality. They are more aware of comfort, from serving coffee, to adjusting AC, showing directions, and answering questions. This is different than, for example, the stereotypical New England attitude where everyone keeps to themselves.