Moral Panics

Fear of perverts in aircraft


Moral Panics Index


Perverts in Aircraft

News Reports 2 : Dec 1-3 2005

December 1 2005

Your say: Children next to men on planes



Stuff readers have their say on the decision by Air New Zealand and Qantas not to seat men next to unaccompanied children.


Re: Experts slam airlines' no men near children policy, Critics of airlines' seating policy grow

As 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.

David Sewell

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?

Duane Donovan

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?

Shay-Lee Wylie

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.

Barry Hobbs

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.

Mark Bart

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.

Anthony Fesche

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.

Jacqueline Mumm

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.

Vicki Sowry

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.

Fiona Smith

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!

Mark Naber

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 and age.

Nicky Cockrem

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.

Royd Compton

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.

Anne Bouterey

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 Australia.

Rebecca Powell

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.

Stephen Gee

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.

Tony McConnochie

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?

Simon Hill

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.

William O'Donnell

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 than sorry.

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.

Andrew Moffatt-Vallance

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!

Boudewyn Couprie

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.

Darryl Ward