Air India offers a female-only seating section on a select number of flights. Will that continue and expand in the Tata era?
Air India “Gender-Sensitive” Seating Includes Reserved Rows Exclusively For Female Passengers
In 2o17, Air India began offering an area it called “gender-sensitive” seating onboard its domestic flights. At the time, the carrier described the policy as a way to provide more “comfort” to female passengers traveling alone:
“We will be reserving the third row — six seats — in the economy class of the aircraft for female passengers traveling alone. We feel, as national carriers, it is our responsibility to enhance comfort level to female passengers. There are a lot of female passengers who travel alone with us and we will be blocking a few seats for them.”
The context of this policy change was a harassment problem in India in which violence against women, including gang rape, remain serious issues. Air India estimates that roughly 10% of any passenger load constitutes females traveling solo.
Might this expand to more flights as Air India rebrands and reinvents itself in the Tata era? A recent internal memo suggests this is at least under consideration:
“To ensure the female guests traveling with us have a comfortable flight, we, as a company, are adopting a gender-sensitive seat assignment practice. A circular has been released with regards to the same.”
That circular apparently included instructions to flight attendants to proactively reseat female passengers, when possible, to avoid sitting between male passengers:
“In our endeavour to adopt the practice, cabin crew members should be mindful and discreet (but not limit themselves) while offering to reseat the below guests in case there are vacant seats available female passenger travelling alone seated between male passengers, mother with infant seated on centre seats could be relocated to a seat with bassinet location (preferably aisle) or window seat.”
Without commenting on whether this move is necessary or not, because I do not know, I find it interesting nevertheless.
Indian trains still have female-only carriages. Closer to home, Germany has female-only gyms or female-only nights at many high-end gyms. Gender discrimination is still alive and well. Did you notice that during the recent prisoner swap in Israel amid the brief cease-fire period, women and children were prioritized for release? I didn’t hear any outrage over that.
Air India has recently indicated it will continue and potentially expand female-only seating on its flights and now instructed flight attendants to take steps to proactively reseat female passengers who find themselves between male passengers.
We wouldn’t want anyone sitting near this guy would we?
image: Air India