Virgin Australia is reconsidering a policy barring men from sitting next to unaccompanied children after taking a weekend-long media battering over the issue.
The policy came to light after the Brisbane Times reported that a Sydney firefighter was asked to change seats because he was sitting between two boys aged eight and ten. The firefighter, identified as Johnny McGirr, was asked to switch seats with a female passenger.
Virgin said the policy had been in place for some time and was based on customer feedback. However, a storm of additional feedback prompted by the report – much of it scathingly critical of the policy as sexist – has prompted Virgin to revisit the issue.
“We understand the concerns raised around our policy for children travelling alone, a long-standing policy initially based on customer feedback,” the airline said in a post on its Twitter account. “In light of recent feedback, we are currently reviewing this policy. Our intention is certainly not to discriminate in any way.”