British Airways has changed its seating policy for unaccompanied minors after a business travellers sued the airline for making him feel like a paedophile after being seated next to a child he did not know.
Mirko Fischer was travelling from Luxembourg to London when he swapped places with his pregnant wife so she could have a window seat.
However the 35-year-old hedge fund manager from Luxembourg was told to move seats by cabin crew under an internal ruling that prevented adult males sitting next to unaccompanied minors.
Fischer claimed that he felt BA has treated him like a “child molester” and successfully sued the airline for breach of the Sex Discrimination Act.
He later won a compensation order at Slough County Court, in which BA admitted sex discrimination in his case and agreed to pay him costs of £2,161 and £750 in damages, which he donated to child protection charities.
BA has conducted review of its policy following the case.
A spokesman for BA told the Telegraph: “We have recently changed our internal advice to our seating and airport teams to ensure that the seating of unaccompanied minors is managed in a safe but non discriminatory manner.”
“We carry tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors every year and take great pride in the service that we provide to them and their parents.
“We have offered this service on all flights for many years for children aged between five and 11 years old, who are travelling alone.
“On some services, this will be in a specially created Unaccompanied Minors zone within a short distance of the cabin crew in the galley.
Airlines are free to set their own seating policies regarding unaccompanied minors, and those such as Virgin Atlantic and easyJet have policies where passengers are free to sit where they like.