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January 19, 2010

Flying While Male?

You know, I'm slow to scream "misandry" (or misogyny, for that matter) but this is just surreal:

This is British Airways' excuse for treating all men like convicted pedophiles:


What kind of parent allows a small child to fly alone on a 13 hour or overnight flight?

If the child is too young to speak with frankly about the right way to handle this kind of incident (much less to call for help if he or she is being bothered) then he or she is far too young to fly alone.

Parents need to take responsibility for their children's safety rather than putting small children into the care of total strangers. No one cares as much about your children as you do. When parental convenience begins to outweigh the rights of other paying passengers, there's something very very wrong.

The real irony here is that British Airways would probably have no qualms about seating a small child next to someone who fits the profile of a jihadist. Apparently the acceptability of being profiled - which is exactly what happened to this male passenger - rises in inverse proportion to the statistical likelihood that a particular passenger poses an actual threat.

Posted by Cassandra at January 19, 2010 08:00 PM

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Good thing they're not profiling.

Posted by: a former european at January 20, 2010 12:21 AM

Completely off topic, but how about Scott Brown!!! :)

Posted by: Frodo at January 20, 2010 07:52 AM

When I returned home from serving my mission back in 1984, I had to wear my name tag. It had my name and the name of the church on it. We called them billboards. Big, bold and no one was in doubt as to who we were and what we stood for.

My flight originated in Harrisburg, went to Chicago, Denver, SLC and terminated in Monterey, after a stop in San Francisco.

Once I got to Chicago, and was seated on the plane, a flight attendant approached me, mentioned my tag and asked me if I would mind if a ten year old boy sat next to me. They were escorting him to San Francisco to visit his father; his mother lived in New York. This lad had been shuttled back and forth between both parents for at least two years and the airlines did the babysitting; neither parent could make the flight with the child.

So, I 'babysat' him from Chicago to SF, and we got along just fine; we played checkers, chess,
cards, chatted and when we got off the plane, the flight attendant told me it was airline policy that children who were flying alone were escorted by the female flight attendants.

I found the policy a bit on the sexist side, but the reasoning at the time was that women were less likely to molest a child than a man. Not that all men are pedophiles, but the tendency of women to protect a child was something that is considered to be hard-wired for women.

I find it laughable, but when you are not sure of your clientele, safety wins out every time.

When my own son flew (short two hour flights), the female flight attendants did the same thing; put him in seat in front of the bulkhead and next to a grandmotherly type.

Unfortunately, it is what it is. I was profiled because of my sex and my religion.

Interesting, no?

Posted by: Cricket at January 20, 2010 08:03 AM

Frodo, here is a quote from PMSNBC about Scott Brown's win, and pay close attention to the last sentence:

"BOSTON - In an epic upset in liberal Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to win the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy for nearly half a century, leaving President Barack Obama's health care overhaul in doubt and marring the end of his first year in office."

Posted by: Cricket at January 20, 2010 08:08 AM

Frodo, I think The Eye --not to mention the ears-- sense that the ring is nearing Mount Doom.

Nope, I can't stop laughing at the Democrat reaction to Brown's win. Chris Muir nailed the mood in three panels. See day by day

Or if your breakfast is settled, check out the view from those what's still employed at the paper of wreckord

And then sterling examples of willful stupidity abound. Take for instance those Best&Brightest™ observations like the one offered in the following:

White House senior adviser David Axelrod told POLITICO: “I think that it would a terrible mistake to walk away now. If we don’t pass the bill, all we have is the stigma of a caricature that was put on it. That would be the worst result for everybody who has supported this bill.” He said the administration will work with Capitol Hill to figure out how.
As for me? I'm going out back to check on the safety of my chickens.

Posted by: bthun at January 20, 2010 09:02 AM

I found the policy a bit on the sexist side, but the reasoning at the time was that women were less likely to molest a child than a man. Not that all men are pedophiles, but the tendency of women to protect a child was something that is considered to be hard-wired for women.

And that's the heart of it. "Men are more likely to be pedophiles". But I'm not so sure that's true. Oh, sure... there's bound to be a higher conviction rate for male pedophiles, but a lot of that is historical bias. Twenty years ago, you NEVER heard about female teachers sexually abusing students. I do not believe for an instant that it didn't happen. Merely that it wasn't considered "abuse". Unless it was a girl, but even then, that was kind of swept under the rug.

Given the recent reportage of instances of female pedophiles, I actually wonder what is the real breakdown of male/female offenders. Regardless, it is clearly a form of sexual discrimination, and in this one man's case, it inconvenienced his pregnant wife as well. It's a dumb policy and really should be eliminated. A child only row? Excellent solution. The airline would be loathe to do it, since it will almost guarantee they wouldn't be able to fill all the seats.

Posted by: MikeD at January 20, 2010 09:06 AM

Even if men are more likely to be pedophiles, that doesn't necessarily make the risk of seating a child next to a man on public transportation unacceptably high.

If people want to send their kids alone on a plane, the ticket price should reflect the increased cost and hassle of providing adult supervision. Passing the cost along to other passengers is a non-starter.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 20, 2010 09:13 AM

I said 'women were less likely.' That means women aren't safe, either. If you check out the news, you certainly know that is true.

When we were taking 'Stranger Danger' classes together, one of the main ideas they tried to get across to young children was to go to a woman.
What they said at that time was that more women have leisure time, are less likely to be employed, AND, if the child was in a store, to go to one of the clerks; easily IDd by the badge hanging from the lanyard and some kind of uniform.

They didn't make the distinction about male or female.

I have one kid that shut down a military base, and who know who found him? Male MPs, in plain clothing.

I was sooooo grateful for them. So, it sort of begs the question that if most law enforcement officers are men, why assume men are more likely to be pedophiles?

Posted by: Cricket at January 20, 2010 12:08 PM

Cassandra, I agree. When Jonathan flew by himself, I found direct flights; no changing planes, even if it had a layover. Not only that,
I paid for the escort and ID fee. The airline that he flew on then had a policy about children
not sitting next to the exits and only in bulkhead
seats, so they sat older passengers next to them.

He flew by himself for the first time from San Jose to SeaTac, and then from Atlanta to Albany.
He was 10 years old the first time, and 15 the second. He REFUSED to have an escort, had a cell phone, some cash and a debit card, JIC.

He made a rather snide comment about knowing how to avoid and get out of trouble after all the years he has seen me getting into it...


Posted by: Cricket at January 20, 2010 12:19 PM

Cricket, here's the problem with playing those kinds of statistical games: In the U.S., it's an absolute statistical rule that a black man is more likely to commit a felony than a white man. Does that mean that, on planes, black men should only be allowed to sit with other black men?

BTW, Delta seems to have an unofficial policy of not seating men next to women who are not traveling with them. I fly out of airport where, on a typical weekday morning, the bulk of the travelers are male. Whatever women are on the flight by themselves are nearly always seated together. Compounding the problem is that they fly mostly regional jets here, and they nearly always have to ask a few people to move to the back of the plane and sit next to the restroom, for weight and balance. The people they ask are always men. No, it's not really that big a deal; you have to sit next to the stinky restroom, but the flight is short. It's just that it gets kind of old after a while.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at January 20, 2010 02:27 PM

I have a couple of friends who have had to send their children on flights alone. Every airline they have ever flown on has the policy that children under a certain age (I think it's 13) can only fly on non-stop flights and must be met at the destination gate by the other parent/adult. One friend had to make a three hour drive to Seattle because that was the only non-stop they could get. MH was asked to drive another friend's child to Phoenix from Yuma because that was the only non-stop available.

Posted by: DL Sly at January 20, 2010 02:47 PM

I am agreement; I am just saying that the current wisdom, while generally accepted, doesn't always make it right and it makes it harder to have a policy to protect minors.

My point is that while I have had to send my child on a flight alone, I did so IAW the airlines (non-stop or direct flights), the ID the escort fee, etc.

It is just that over 20 years ago, I didn't bat an eyelash at being singled out, and I could have been just as offended because he wasn't my kid.

I didn't then, and I don't now, see men as predators, but in this time of heightened awareness, you are going to have heightened stupidity.

Posted by: Cricket at January 20, 2010 04:07 PM

I have moved to the back of the plane before. Thank goodness I wasn't enciente. Not enough airsickness bags on the plane, in the airport or on the planet.

As Capt. Picard said "Klingons (women) have a very strong sense of smell."

*the name of our homeschool is Klingon Warrior Academy Prep.*

Posted by: Cricket at January 20, 2010 04:11 PM

Personally, Cricket, I don't think children should fly ever alone. And some adults I've had the misfortune of encountering, but I digress... I understand those times when it absolutely has to be that way. And, while I do understand the *why's*, I still hate to see it. Call it one of those 'pit-of-the-stomach' "I've got a baaad feeling about this", kinda thing.

I love the homeschool name, btw.

Posted by: DL Sly at January 20, 2010 05:04 PM