Air India has come up with a new policy that will allow solo women travellers and mothers with young children to select alternative seats on their flights. The airline issued the directive on October 3, which recommends that these passengers be given the option to choose aisle or window seats according to their convenience.
An internal communication of the airline stated, “To ensure the female guests travelling with us have a comfortable flight, we as a company are adopting a gender-sensitive seat assignment practice. A circular has been released by the team with regard to the same.”
Air India's New Policy For Solo Women Travellers
The directive also extends to children travelling alone and seated in centre seats. Further, it emphasises that the airline’s cabin crew will discreetly offer reseating options to women passengers who are travelling solo and to mothers with infants in centre seats if vacant seats are available. The aim is to relocate these passengers to seats with bassinet locations, preferably aisle or window seats.
Although the Air India spokesperson didn’t comment on the development, other officials have stated that this move is to prevent any potential issues between male and female passengers. The airline claimed that it came to their attention that solo female passengers felt uncomfortable when assigned centre seats.
The initiative is called “gender-sensitive seat assignment practice.” The relevant department of the airline has been directed to ensure that solo female travellers are not assigned the centre seat when both the aisle and window seats are occupied by male passengers.
Can Be Potentially Chaotic!
However, one airline employee noted that this directive may be ineffective as about 10 percent of every flight has solo female travellers.
Aviation expert Mohan Ranganathan suggested that rather than introducing this directive, which might potentially lead to confusion, the airline should instruct the relevant department to address the situation during the booking process itself.
He added that if the airline is coming up with a directive in the name of gender sensitivity, it should not introduce one that could lead to confusion and chaos while booking aisle seas for solo female passengers.
An Alternative Suggestion
Rightfully so, only if the issue is addressed during the booking process itself has a chance of working out. Otherwise, imagine the disorder and delay it would cause if the cabin crew went about reassigning seats for solo female passengers instead of focusing on settling down and taking off. The intention of the airline to ensure the comfort of female passengers is good, but the directive could turn out to cause unrest among passengers.
Instead of coming up with an initiative that will require so much manual labour from the cabin crew, which could potentially be messy, the airline could come up with software that allows solo female travellers and young mothers to choose the aisle or window seat according to their convenience.
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