‘Sir we are going have to ask you to move’
‘Why’, I said.
‘Well, because you are male, you can’t be seated next to two unaccompanied minors’.
Shocked, I replied, ‘ Isn’t this sexist and discriminatory?’
She replied, ‘I am sorry, but that is our policy’.
By this stage a few people from the surrounding rows had started to look around and wonder what the problem was. The stewardess walked two rows up to the aisle seat across from me. She spoke to a 20 year old women and asked if she would mind swapping seats because I wasn’t allowed to sit next to the children. That was the explanation given.
Here is something I didn’t know: Virgin, and many other airlines, have a policy that men are not allowed to sit next to unaccompanied children on airplanes, because, you know, child molestation.
When firefighter Johnny McGirr (great name!) called Virgin later to complain, he was given the following quote: “Unaccompanied children will have spare seats allocated next to them when they are flying. In the case of a full plane then a female will be sat next to the children.” It’s sort of like when it’s late at night on a mostly empty street, and women tell you not to get offended if they cross the street to avoid walking near you. Understandable, because we need to be vigilant and such, but it’s hard not to get offended, or in my case, laugh really hard because I’m tiny and scrawny.
According to The Independent, a man flying with British Airways in 2006 had to prove his paternity with staff members before he was allowed to sit next to his own children, which would probably make you angry too. Protect the children, yes, but let’s find a less discriminatory way to do it.
Photo: eGuide Travel