Tuesday, July 6, 2010

British Airways: You're A Man, You're A Pervert

The Anti-Male Airline. (HT Tickets En Linge)

From The National Post:

In an interesting news item out of Britain, a man has received about £3,000 in costs and damages combined for sex discrimination by British Airways (BA).

Mirko Fischer, 33, and his pregnant wife were on a London to Luxembourg flight in April 2009. Deciding she preferred the window, she exchanged her middle seat with her husband, thus seating him adjacent to a child travelling alone.

A flight attendant, who later claimed ignorance of the fact that Mr. Fischer was with his wife, informed him that he must return to his original seat, as it was BA policy not to allow adult men to sit next to an unaccompanied minor. After some discussion, Mr. Fischer did ultimately return to his seat, unwilling to make a spectacle of himself, but felt “embarrassed, humiliated and angry.”

For its part, BA conceded fault in not realizing Mr. Fischer was with his wife, but defended the general policy. A spokesman said, “We had 75,000 children fly with us last year and it is an issue we take very seriously.”

BA is not the only airline with that policy. It’s a common practice. In a September 2007 post in these pages in which I mused over airline inconsistencies in profiling discrimination — yes to all adult men, no to potential terrorists — I quoted an expert witness in aviation disputes: “You have to make generalizations for the safety of a child.” She cited what is apparently a well-known adage in airline circles: “No regulation in aviation takes effect without somebody’s blood on it.”

The only inference to draw from that statement is that unaccompanied minors have been physically abused on airplanes by adult men in the past, and therefore the policy is well justified. If that is indeed the case, then airlines have opened the door in principle to profiling in general. This isn’t 1954, after all, when any man in a business suit is considered trustworthy. The opposite. No men are “innocent” any more, not even the 99% of decent men to whom it would never occur to be anything but protective to a child alone. All are suspect in society’s eyes, even though something like 20% of sexual abuse is perpetrated on children by women.

Bottom line: To paraphrase James Brown, this is a anti-man's world.

Background Intel:

National Post: Barbara Kay: You’re male. You must be a pervert

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