British Airways Seating Policy: Discrimination or Necessary to Protect Children?

Locations in this article:  London, England

British AirwaysA man is suing British Airways because he feels one of its policies unfairly brands men as sexual predators.

According to the policy, male passengers are required to relocate to another seat if they are sitting next to children they do not know, even if the parents are on the flight. The plane will not take off unless the man agrees to move.

Is this rule an important step to protect children, or does it insult and embarrass innocent passengers?

Mirko Fischer, the man suing the airline, learned of the policy when he was forced to move away from his pregnant wife because a 12-year-old boy was seated next to him.

Fischer was seated between his wife, who had chosen a window seat feeling it was more spacious, and a 12-year-old boy who had the aisle seat.

When the flight attendant approached Fischer and asked him to move, Fischer said he did not want to leave his wife, who was 6 months pregnant. The flight attendant then raised his voice at Fischer.

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Generic plane flyingFischer is suing on the grounds of sexual discrimination, insisting that this kind of profiling should not be allowed. He also argued that, by this logic, children should not be allowed to sit next to their own family members since they are statistically more likely to be abused by someone in their family.

Even though the rule is enforced with the best intentions, Fischer hasn’t been the first person to take exception. Back in 2006, London Mayor Boris Johnson was asked to move away from his own children on a flight to India. Johnson publicly ridiculed the rule and called it another example of our fearful and overprotective society.

British Airways isn’t the only carrier with such a rule—Qantas and Air New Zealand also have similar policies.

Fischer plans to pay for all his own legal fees and says that if he wins the case, he will donate any compensation to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

By Dan Bence for

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So what do you think about this rule? Is it necessary to protect kids or do these policies go to far and constitute discrimination?