Assigned Seats? Airlines Face Heat For Discriminatory Seating Policies

qantasA recent example from Qantas airlines illustrates a rare form of what some are calling “reverse discrimination” after a man was told to move seats because he was sitting next to an unaccompanied minor.

Qantas and Virgin both have safety policies that require unaccompanied minors to be seated alone or next to women.

Virgin Australia is reviewing its policy after a recent case involving a firefighter who was asked to switch seats after being seated next to two unaccompanied young boys, the country’s Sunday Morning Herald reported.

Qantas is now taking heat as well after a weekend incident where a male nurse was asked to move in a similar situation. The passenger in question, a male nurse, told the Sunday Morning Herald that he found his treatment “insulting and discriminatory.”

British Airways recently overturned their similar policy after a man sued for sex discrimination.

What do you think? Is it discriminatory to prevent unaccompanied minors from sitting next to adult males during flights?

[Flickr via planegeezer]

Thailand’s new PC Air first airline in country to hire transsexual flight attendants

transsexual flight attendantsBeing the hostess with the mostess just got more competitive. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Thailand’s newest airline, PC Air, is raising the bar on airline personnel. It’s the first Thai airline to hire transsexual flight attendants, as part of a pioneering effort to redefine equal rights within the industry. PC Air is slated to debut in April, running charter flights across Asia. The airline has already hired six transsexual crew members, including Thanyarat ‘Film’ Jiraphatpakorn, winner of the Miss Tiffany Universe Transsexual beauty pageant in 2007. Over 100 transsexual people applied during the first round of hiring.

Thailand has one of the world’s largest transsexual, or “third sex” populations, and its surgeons have achieved a global reputation for providing relatively affordable, easily accessible sex change operations (which pertain to the transgender, not transsexual, population). PC Air doesn’t require sexual reassignment surgery; rather, applicants need to meet criteria that include language and customer service skills.

While many Thai transsexuals are involved in prostitution or more legitimate forms of entertainment, PC Air’s president, Peter Chan, wants to provide more opportunity for the trans community. “I think these people can have many careers, not just in the entertainment business, and many of them have a dream to be an air hostess…When it’s their dream job or the job they love, they can do it even better,” he says. “Our society has changed — it’s evolution. I’m a pioneer, and I’m sure there will be (other) organizations following my idea.”