Man Must Change Seats on Plane: He Is Seated Next to Two Minors (via Free-Range Kids)

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Hi Folks! I’ts Lenore from Free- Range Kids, where “flying while male” is not a new issue to us (see this post)  just a new airline: Virgin, in Australia. In today’s story, a man named Johnny McGirr, 33, was seated next to two unaccompanied minors — boys, about ages 8 and 10. He was supposed to sit next to the window, but switched to the aisle to let the boys look out, because he’s a nice guy.

That, however, is not how the airline saw him. When the stewardess came by she saw only that he was — accckkkk! — a MALE, and she made him move. The reason? Company policy: A woman can sit next to unaccompanied children, but not a man.

The fellow — a fireman — spent the rest of the trip embarrassed and angry. Eventually, he blogged about it, pointing out quite rightly that the assumption seems to be that every male is at least a  potential pedophile, even in public, on a plane, with people going up and down the aisles. This is what I call “Worst-First Thinking” — thinking up the very WORST case scenario and proceeding as if it is FIRST on the list of likely possibilities.  The airline excused itself by saying, “Most guests thoroughly understand that the welfare of the child is our priority.” As if it’s only a deviant who’d question this practice.

But the airline is wrong. Many people do NOT understand this panicked prejudice anymore. The buzz in Australia is that there is now a “public backlash” that has Virgin (and Qantas, and Jetstar and Air Newland) re-thinking its men-must-move policy.

Let’s hope they get it right this time, as British Airways finally did. Making people sit in a certain place because of  their DNA is something Rosa Parks fought a long time ago.  – L.

Look! Up in the air! It’s predator panic!

Digg it |  reddit | |  Fark

55 Responses to “Man Must Change Seats on Plane: He Is Seated Next to Two Minors (via Free-Range Kids)”

  1. #1 |  Ben | 

    #23 | Seitz

    Doubt it all you want. I don’t know whether they did it on purpose because they wanted a couple hours of peace and quiet, or whether they didn’t realize that you can switch seats and the airline doesn’t care. I assumed the former explanation as it was happening. Regardless, my whole point is that it wasn’t a big deal, so who gives a crap either way?

  2. #2 |  Mike G. | 

    @ 39 Hey, it was 1965, I was a kid and we were going to my GP’s farm in Greenleaf. What could be better than that? ;)

  3. #3 |  liberranter | 

    Alternately, offer the guy a first class upgrade for free. He gets away from the kid, but it saves on the embarrassment.

    I would LOVE to see a lawsuit arising out of this the terms of which mandate that any airline requiring a man to move under circumstances like those described here must AUTOMATICALLY get a seat in first class. I’ll bet there would be a lot fewer requests of this type made.

    I doubt many people would decline a free upgrade to first class. It is good customer service.

    The last thing that the airlines, especially the American domestic airlines, are interested in providing is good customer service.

  4. #4 |  Warren | 

    Upgrade to first class? Move the kids?
    This isn’t about crappy customer service!
    This is about how all men are currently presumed to be predators, perverts and need to be monitored and contained.
    The better way to handle this, from a customer service point of view, is not to have this damn policy in the first place.
    What could the airline do if he refused to move?
    He is not acting in a way that implies a threat, so they would be SOL!

  5. #5 |  Stephen | 

    “Alternately, offer the guy a first class upgrade for free. He gets away from the kid, but it saves on the embarrassment.”

    Unfortunately, that only works:

    1) if the guy & the kid aren’t already in first class; and
    2) there is at least one free seat in first class.

    It also assumes that the guy is unaccompanied himself.