December 1 2005
Your say: Children next to men on planes
readers have their say on the decision by Air New Zealand and Qantas not to
seat men next to unaccompanied children.
Experts slam airlines' no men near children policy, Critics of airlines'
seating policy grow
a father of five and grandfather of three I strongly object to this policy.
Why the hell are men made out to be the bad guys in all of this? But, on the
other hand, I certainly wouldn't want to be stuck next to a snotty, whiney or
badly behaved child, so I guess there are both good and bad points to this.
This is another example of the paranoia that dissuaded me from entering
teaching when I was younger. I knew that it would take only one malicious
accusation to ruin not just my career but my whole life. Are we so twisted
that a man who wants to help or teach children is assumed to be a demon until
proved otherwise? I presume airlines would not be allowed to move a person
based on their ethnicity?
It is ridiculous not to mention discriminatory to ban men from being seated
next to unaccompanied children. I am a mother of two boys under the age of 8
years of age. I am among the majority of parents who are supporters of the
"Stranger Danger" approach. However, I believe that in fact the
best way around this issue would be to reconsider the age that children
should be allowed to fly unaccompanied - perhaps they should be 13 years old
to fly without a parent or guardian. After all, would parents allow their
child to board a city bus, age 5 without being accompanied by a parent. Why
should children flying be any different?
How more paranoid are we going to get? Are we going to stop males sitting
next to children on trains, buses, in cinemas, in waiting rooms, etc. Where
will it stop? How can these airlines demand this policy? I thought we lived
in a democratic country; silly me. This is discriminatory not to mention putting
all males in the child molester basket. I hope someone takes these narrow
minded policy makers to task over this one.
Who would want to sit next to a whinging, snotty nosed kid for 15 hours? This
polcy works in the man's favour as far as I can tell. Maybe it should be
extened to bus and train services too, including commuter services. I think
it's a great policy.
According to the Air NZ seating policy an unaccompanied minor would not be allowed
to sit next to the Pope or Nelson Mandela or the Dalai Lama. I wasn't aware
guilty until proven innocent was the new national policy? What a sad day.
Unaccompanied minors seating policy. A big debate and as a parent of children
who travel to see their extended family during holidays I am aware there is
risk from any direction. Firstly, it's about parents generally educating
children about inappropriate touching, safety and to verbalise their
discomfort to identified adults without hesitation. Empower the child with
good common sense advice. Drop the PC/gender issue. Awareness, common sense,
and reaction should be the focus. As adults we are able to choose our seating
on flights, and as adults we are guardians of our children, therefore the
airline may reconsider it's present stance and in the 'paperwork' a parent
must complete for an unaccompanied minor, be given the choice to state
neighbouring passenger preference. It takes the PCness away from the airline
and places it firmly in the hands of the legal guardian and personal choice.
Worth a re-think.
Air NZ and Qantas should at leat be commended for their misguided approach to
child protection - after all, it shows that they take their responsibilities
seriously. But the critics are right. The vast majority of children are hurt
and abused by family members or by family friends. Not strangers. The sooner
people accept this, the sooner we can begin to provide children with the real
protection they need. And, hopefully, we will start to live with less fear of
the men in our midst - becoming more open to life, more resistant to the
political scare-mongering that seems part and parcel of our lives these days.
Oh yes - let's get really PC! Lets bring in having female attendents in
lifts, buses, taxis, dentist's rooms, classrooms, sports clubs and so on. Get
real people - only an extremely small percentage of people are a risk to
others. The majority of people are not a risk at all.
Where will this end? How can our children grow up normally. Does
over-protectiveness have long term psychological effects - we're about to
find out in the next generation! As an expatriate reading things like this is
a major disincentive to return. The 'powers that be' are doing a good job of
wrecking a society that used to be relaxed and enjoyable to live in!
This is not political correctness, it is peace of mind for parents when their
children travel alone. My child travels every year to Australia and most
airlines have this policy. I appreciate it, I feel a lot more comfortable
with a woman than a man sitting next to my daughter for three hours. This is
not a human rights issue for gods sake. It is just common sense in this day
It is a fact that the vast majority of children who have been the target of
molesters have known the molester. It has been a person known to them and has
happened in a place known to them, eg. their own or a relative/friend's home.
The chances of this happening on a plane is ever so slight.
Political correctness is an increasingly insidious disease in New Zealand
society. It is ensuring this country is becoming less and less democratic.
This is just the last straw, putting men in boxes as all being potential
paedophiles is disgraceful, insulting and discriminatory. How can we expect
men to continue to be involved with our children's education, upbringing and
general developement when we treat them as pariahs. This generation of men have,
in the main, been the most caring, hands-on parents, care-givers and
guardians in history. It is all about to be destroyed by stupid people
setting stupid rules that discredit our male population - half of the nation.
In response to your article: Experts slam airlines' no men near children
policy, I flew unaccompanied from Auckland to Christchurch at the age of 8,
in 1974 not long after NAC purchased the initial 737 fleet. I sat next to a
man named Keith, who obviously had such an impact on me that I've remembered
his name. He entertained me, made me laugh, and talked about how planes
stayed up in the air, and why they were so safe. As a now 40-year-old father
of 3 boys, 5 and under, I cannot accept that this policy is in the best interest
of children or men within the framework of an integrated society that values
the input of every member of society in the raising of children. I sincerely
hope that these airlines will review this policy and stop sexualising
children by specifically identifying men as sexual predators and paedophiles.
Every person you meet as a child has the ability to influence the person you
become, and I can thank Keith for igniting a life long passion for aviation,
and for making what was a memorable holiday trip a "journey".
James David Walsh
This article revolts me. Women can be sexual predators too. Maybe Qantas and
Air NZ should separate males and females altogether on flights? You never
know who is a rapist. Maybe all the men should live in the South Island and
the women should live in the North? Grow up NZ, you're starting to sound like
As a former sex offender therapist, social worker and probation officer I've
had a lot to do with paedophiles. I can tell you two things. First their
policy is loopy hysteria. Secondly, as a bloke I'm disgusted and offended by
Qantas' discrimination against me and other men. There's enough male bashing
in NZ without thier stupidity adding to it further. I will be taking my
custom elsewhere and encouraging others to do likewise until they change
thier unreasonable attitude towards men.
In reference to the article about Qantas and Air New Zealand not seating men
next to unaccompanied children on flights, personally I can't think of anything
better. As a young single male the further away from children that I am on a
flight the better. There should also be a section at the back of the plane
where all children and families are placed and sound proof perspex seperates
them from other passengers. That way they would always be first on the plane
and there would be still be overhead locker space for normal passengers who
don't have the luxury of being allowed to have three carry on bags "full
of baby stuff". Move the kids away from blokes, let the poor unfortunate
female passengers look after them. Great.
In reply to the article(s) on the airlines policies of men not being allowed
to sit next to children on flights: If it were instead shown that a specific
race, or races (be that Asian, white, Maori, or Inuit) have a similarly high
rate of child abuse offenses (as was noted by the airlines that males have),
would the airlines have considered making a policy that those races will not
be allowed to sit next to unsupervised children?
Well, the PC advocates have gone mad, mad, mad. So they think I may be a
paedophile do they? PC stands for paranoiac crap in my books; judging first
before any evidence, what a great way to run society! we will all need
clearance from the PC brigade first before we are born soon.
With regard to certain airlines' policy of seating unaccompanied minors where
possible next to either empty seats or women I feel compelled to share an
experience I had as a 17-year-old. I was seated next to a male who was
approximately 30 years old. We chatted for a while and he showed me photos of
his children, as nice people do. I was most surprised hours later, having
leaned my head against the window for a nap, to be awoken by the presence of
his hand inside my blouse. I quickly removed his hand and moved to another
seat soon after. Full credit to Qantas and Air New Zealand. The only insanity
that needs to be stopped is that of bad people acting under the guise of
anti-PCism trying to thwart the efforts of those who would rather be safe
Angela Gail Church
I read with some considerable distress of Air New Zealand and Qantas's policy
of not seating children next to men. As a male survivor of sexual abuse by a woman,
I am deeply distressed by this shockingly offensive policy. The assumption
that any male might be a paedophile is incredibly damaging to our society and
in large part responsible for the dearth of male contact our children now
get. Shame on these airlines for their narrowminded and disgusting policy.
For the life of me I cannot see any justification for the Qantas and Air NZ
policy for who may or may not sit next to an unaccompanied minor on a flight.
It is blatent discrimination of the worst order. If I were to ban Maori from
my shop because Maori are over represented in the criminal statistics, I
would be rightly vilified. These airlines should be similarly held to
account. This is the first time I find myself in total agreement with Keith
Locke. As a father of a 1 year old I find it disturbing that some idiot in an
airline believes that I may be capable of causing harm to a children on the
basis of my gender. What's next? Being asked to sit at the back of the plane?
Rosa Parks should be turning in her grave!
Like many other New Zealand fathers, I am outraged at the comments of
Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro in supporting Air New Zealand's and
Qantas' policies of not allowing men to sit next to unaccompanied children.
Nothing short of her immediate resignation would be an appropriate response.
It is thoroughly unacceptable to teach children that one half of the
population is dangerous and to be feared. A far better policy would be to
ensure that unaccompanied children are seated with parents, irrespective of
their genders. Kiro has demonstrated that she is not fit to be Children's
Commissioner. She should resign straight away, and the airlines concerned
should issue an immediate apology.