Main | Thursday, January 21, 2010

You Can't Sit There, You Might Molest

A man in the UK is suing British Airways for making him move to another seat on a flight out of London. According to company policy, adult men are not allowed to sit next to children unrelated to them. Because we're all potential child molesters.
In line with the policy, BA cabin crew patrol the aisles before take-off checking that youngsters traveling on their own or in a different row from their parents are not next to a male stranger. If they find a man next to a child or teenager they will ask him to move to a different seat. The aircraft will not take off unless the passenger obeys. Mr Fischer, a 33-year-old hedge fund manager, became aware of the policy while he was flying from Gatwick with his wife Stephanie, 30. His wife, who was six months pregnant, had booked a window seat which she thought would be more spacious. Mr Fischer was in the middle seat between her and a 12-year-old boy. Shortly after all passengers had sat down, having stowed their bags in the overhead lockers, a male steward asked Mr Fischer to change his seat. Mr Fischer refused, explaining that his wife was pregnant, at which point the steward raised his voice, causing several passengers to turn round in alarm. He warned that the aircraft could not take off unless Mr Fischer obeyed. Mr Fischer eventually moved seats but felt so humiliated by his treatment that he is taking the airline to court on the grounds of sex discrimination-He is paying all his own legal.
British Airways instituted the policy in 2001. Qantas and Air New Zealand have similar rules.

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