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Virgin criticised over ‘sexist’ policy

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 13, 2012
Virgin Australia is revisiting its policy barring men from sitting next to unaccompanied children. (Paul Robson)

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.”

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Comments (4)

  • ACT


    This isn’t sexist you buffoons, it’s trying to make a very scary experience for the kids as non threatening as possible.

    This world of me me me has just gone too far. Think of others first, did your mother treach you nothing?

    IT’S ABOUT THE KIDS, Christ…

  • Jo


    I can completely understand the policy. It’s their to protect the children. I was a flight attendant for qantas for ten years and on one of my flights witnessed a man change into a seat next to a young boy who was unaccompanied. He was arrested once the flight landed and the young boy explained to the police that the man had asked for his address and if he had a number.

    I can understand that it could be handled a bit better but it’s only there as an extra shield for a child’s safety. Virgin have done nothing wrong

  • Andrew


    It’s completely sexist to suggest that no men can be trusted with any children.

    Imagine the outcry if Virgin declared that single women will no longer be allowed to sit next to single men since there’s a possibility that the women may make false claims of sexual assault against them. The arguement being that, whilst Virgin acknowledges that the majority of women don’t make false claims of sexual assault, the vast majority of false claims of sexual assault are made by women.

    Let’s be completely honest here, it’s no longer a man’s world, it’s a women and children’s world.

    Having been move FOUR TIMES on two Emirates flights for the same reason, I know how it feels to be treated like a predator waiting to happen! If you’re a single man on a flight then you’re a second class citizen.

  • Annette Hart


    Andrew I feel you are being dramatic. This is the policy of many airlines not just Virgin – for the protection of travelling unaccompanied minors. Nobody has accused or labled you of anything. The choice of interpretation is entirely yours. Regardless of what ever the reason if you are asked by Cabin Crew during flight to do something and you do not comply then you are in breech of CASA regulations. You could be delt with a hefty fine for non compliance. The airlines are not discriminating against you or anybody else. They are operating a service with the safety of everybody being their first priority regardless of age, gender and at times health conditions.

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