In what appears to be another blow to an already battered but still profitable airline industry, a rather infrequent flyer from Bangalore has alleged rampant gender profiling practices collectively by the airline industry.
The passenger has alleged that the airline industry is profiling and separating out male passengers, especially those in mid 20s and unmarried. He has said that airlines are willfully assigning seats to these passengers away from any female passengers, particularly, those also in the mid 20s.
He adds that while this was always prevalent in road and rail transport, this new trend in air travel industry has ensured that he hasn’t had a female co-passenger in any of his last 3 trips in last 6 years. Worried that he is now approaching a matrimonially suitable age, and the only girl in his social circle of about 20 friends is married, he will not be able to find a girlfriend and might have to settle for a girl selected by his parents.
Pointing out to a recent incident, the passenger recalled that he was not only discriminated against but punished because of his insanely good looks and manly aura, which he pointed out was due to his use of products of a certain brand endorsed by Milind Soman. The passenger alleged that the airline not only allotted him a seat at least 3 rows away from any female passenger but also right next to a family of 3 seated in two seats. The family, he recalled, took advantage of his shy nature and made him share his seat with their rather large three-year-old son.
While this allegation has struck a chord with most of the male engineers in mid 20s who travel only before or after Diwali every alternate year to save money, the airline industry has been mostly silent. When contacted, representatives of most of the airlines refused to entertain any queries. One exception was a rather loyal, still active and notably female employee of now mostly defunct Kingfisher airlines. The employee agreed to meet over coffee and discuss this issue without any expectation of anonymity. When questioned, the employee confirmed the trend, saying that the recent rise in crimes against young women has forced the airlines to start this practice, which they believe will significantly bring down harassment not just in airports but also against their female flight crew.
When last contacted the passenger was still contemplating writing an email to customer care of the airline to ensure he gets a female co-passenger next time he travels. While this development has not been surprising, it remains to be seen if the industry actually abandons this practice.
Note: The identity of the passenger has not been revealed upon request and the identity of the employee has not been revealed as this journalist, also an unmarried male in the mid 20s, has kept the details to himself as he found the employee rather pretty and wanted to stop internet stalkers from tracking down the employee on Facebook.