BA recently changed its policy regarding the seating of unaccompanied minors (UMs) after being accused of discrimination by a male passenger who took the airline to court after being asked to move seats away from a 12 year old boy on a flight to Luxembourg.
Air France also made the headlines recently when unions claimed their seating policy, similar to that of BAs, could put children’s safety at risk in the event of an accident.
Flights comparison site Skyscanner.net surveyed over 500 users on the sensitive issue and found that more than two thirds would feel insulted if asked to move away from a child.
The overwhelming majority (86%) of respondents also said that they would be happy for their own child to sit next to a stranger, if the child was flying unaccompanied.
Of these, 40% said they would actually prefer their child to be seated next to an adult in case they needed help in an emergency.
Only 14% said that they didn’t like the idea of their child sitting next to a stranger, however 28% of parents did say they would prefer their child to be seated next to a female rather than a male.
Barry Smith, Skyscanner Co-founder and Business Director commented:
“It’s a very delicate area for airlines and it is important that they strike the right balance. Airlines are obviously responsible for any unaccompanied minors that they carry so must do everything they can to ensure the safety and comfort of that child during the flight; this includes the threat that other passengers may pose as well as ensuring safety should oxygen masks be required. It is important that airlines tread carefully and communicate their policies clearly.”