Virgin Airlines: Men Can’t Sit Near Unaccompanied Minors

TW for pedophilia.

Virgin Airlines apparently does not allow men to sit next to unaccompanied minor children, but does allow women to do so, apparently out of fear of pedophilia.

Talk about pedophile hysteria. Planes are fucking crowded; you can’t even talk without everyone accidentally overhearing about the time your toddler put Aunt Jenna’s goldfish in the microwave. How the hell is a pedophile supposed to molest or abuse a kid when he’s surrounded by people? He’d end up getting arrested like that. Nevertheless, not having men sit by unaccompanied minors makes everyone feel better, and so we do it, as absurd as it is.

Most pedophiles– just like most rapists, most abusers, most harassers, and most creepers– are good at not getting caught. They tend to molest children who are alone and vulnerable. They put themselves into positions of power or groom the kids or both, so the children don’t feel able to report. They are overwhelmingly more likely to molest their own children than other people’s, because their children depend on them, tend to believe things they say, are probably afraid or distrustful of strangers like the police, and probably even love their relatives. They take advantage of the systematic disbelief and doubt granted to all manner of predators to harm children. That’s how it works! Pedophile hysteria gives people a false sense of security which allows them to ignore the actual predators in their midst.

(Note the Knight/Beast Dichotomy. “That man’s a stranger, he could do anything… but that guy over there? We know him, he wouldn’t hurt a fly!”)

Not to mention that, you know, women sexually abuse children too. Not as often as men do (Wikipedia suggests that somewhere between 4% and 43% of child molesters are female, which is the scientific equivalent of “fucked if we know”), but then the percentage of child molesters in the population is very small either way. Surely, if one were really concerned about unaccompanied minors, it would be best to seat the unaccompanied minors away from adults in general?

Fortunately, Virgin Airlines is reconsidering this policy in light of the negative attention which they’ve gotten. However, we should keep up the pressure on them. Choose tactics that actually help keep children from being molested, instead of punishing random men who have never harmed a child.


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Ozy Frantz is a student at a well-respected Hippie College in the United States. Zie bases most of zir life decisions on Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and identifies more closely with Pinkie Pie than is probably necessary. Ozy can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter as @ozyfrantz. Writing is presently Ozy's primary means of support, so to tip the blogger, click here.


  1. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    Is there even any documented case of a child being molested by a stranger on an airplane, or is this a completely invented fear?

    • Yes. Perhaps a few dozen in the previous couple of decades, and it seems like the problem can be almost entirely solved by not letting people switch seats to sit next to unaccompanied minors:

    • Well, how exactly can we gather accurate statistics? I think we can only speak from experience and I have met a lot of dirty men in my female lifetime who have tried it on with me in inappropriate places and circumstances. A man did attempt to feel me up while seated next to me on a plane, and while I was not a minor at the time, his groping was uninvited and inappropriate. I was probably 20 years younger than him at the time. I had a similar experience on a train, and many of my female friends report having had men expose themselves on public transport. Guys, before you get hysterical in YOUR responses to the Virgin Airlines precaution, try living as a female for while – you might be suprized and embarrassed by how much bad behavior we have to put up with from men.

      • So its uncertain how often it happens but it’s okay to assume that it’s happening enough to make a policy that presumes worst faith in all men?

        Guys, before you get hysterical in YOUR responses to the Virgin Airlines precaution, try living as a female for while – you might be suprized and embarrassed by how much bad behavior we have to put up with from men.
        Not suprised nor am I embarassed. I see that women do have to put up with a lot of bad behavior from men. And at the same time as a myself I know that one it’s not all of us doing it (I know you aren’t trying to say that mind you).

        What does surprise me is that it seems that if something is discriminatory again men some of the very people that would be up in arms about such things affecting other people suddenly have no problem (and will actively defend it) when it’s happening to men.

        And I’ll ask here like I did over at Good Feed blog’s post on this.

        Speaking of hysterical why don’t you try living as a male for a while. You might be surprised and embarassed by how much bad behavior is projected onto all men just because we share the same gender.

        If the issue is protecting children then not put unaccompanied minors in a reserved section of seats (seats that could still seat other passengers if there are no unaccompanied minors on the flight) that are near the attendant staff, that way someone is watching them almost the entire duration of the flight?

  2. Let’s hope it doesn’t take an all out lawsuit like it did with British Airways.

  3. I thought this was common policy for most airlines. I know a couple who’ve been doing it since the late nineties.

    • jesus_marley says:

      whether it’s a common policy or not doesn’t make it any less disgusting. All it means is that most airlines are complicit in the systemic discrimination against men and have been comfortable in doing so for decades. VA isn’t sorry they did this. They are sorry they got caught doing it and are trying to do damage control. But I suppose this is just some more of that privilege we men all enjoy.

      • “whether it’s a common policy or not doesn’t make it any less disgusting. ”

        Didn’t say it did.

      • Before you complain about the “systematic discrimination against men” try turing on a TV and looking at how women are represented there – now THAT is systematic discrimination. And try walking down the street every day seeing women covered in burkas because of the alleged incapacity of Muslim men to control their sexual urges, a myth that western men are silently complicit in by not arguing against! And try going to a job where virtually all of the senior management are male while women fill the lowest paid shittiest working condition roles, or try living in a country where 83% of Congress is male, and where female sports do not even exist in any of the media – whether print or TV. Try paying for a taxi every time you go home at night because you have to fear that you’ll be raped or assaulted by a man. Try going to college and having male students talk over you every time you try to participate in a discussion or make a valid argument. …. get the picture? YOU are not a victim. The whole world rises up to kiss your males ass.

        • Before you complain about the “systematic discrimination against men” try turing on a TV and looking at how women are represented there – now THAT is systematic discrimination.
          No. None of this bullshit where the experiences of women are held up like some bar that the experiences of men have to meet in order for them to actually count. From what I understand when it comes to the gender discourse it’s not about how has it worse. I guess it not about who has it worse….unless it can be argued that women have it worse then it’s fair game.

          And as for the rest of your paragraph you are doing nothing but reaching around the world to try to show that there are no things that harm men on a systematic level. Bullshit. Ozy has explained many times here that the fact that there are things that harm women alone DOES NOT prove that there are no things that harm men (but it doesn’t stop folks from thinking it does, quite a few feminists do this in fact). In fact Ozy has pointed out many times that when one is being harmed chances are the other is being harmed too. And no, its not a matter of “who has it worse” despite that being the focus point of your argument here. It’s a matter of there’s a lot of messed up stuff going on that’s hurting damn near everyone in sight.

          Far as I can see the only person that is trying to play the victim here is you. For some unknown reason it hurts you to see that there are things that are offensive to and harm men so in order to “set things right” you have to sweep in and make it all about the women. As far as the gender discourse is concerned there are more than enough places for you to spit that line.

      • Random_Stranger says:

        Interesting to read the comments on the Qantas story. Looks like most of the commenters believe the policy is okay if conducted secretly at time of check-in and Qantas’ real error was execution.

        Dismal, if there’s any silver lining to this -it’s that these policies are coming to the surface with wide-spread condemnation. I can’t understand why any person, but particularly a man, would book a flight on an airline with this policy.

  4. And people wonder why it’s so hard to get men into jobs caring for children. Disgusting bigotry at play here.

  5. How about the other side of it – women have to sit next to the kids just becsuse we are women – isn’t that also discrimination?

    I’m kidding, sort of. However, just because I’m a woman, doesn’t mean I will be great with a child. That’s stereotyping!

    • I know you’re joking but yeah the other side of the “Men shouldn’t be around children!!!” coin is “Woman MUST be around children!!!’

    • Exactly! For the love of pete, please don’t sit a kid next me based on my gender!

    • “How about the other side of it – women have to sit next to the kids just becsuse we are women – isn’t that also discrimination?
      I’m kidding, sort of. ”

      It’s really not a joke. It’s still discrimination, and it can be an actual burden if the kid’s a pill.

      This is another instnace of Ozy’s Law, that misogyny and misandry generally co-occur.

  6. I had no idea that pedophile = males. Really, it had never been pointed out to me that ALL pedophiles, everywhere, are always men, and that no woman in recorded history has ever molested a child.

    Imagine that: the solution to pedophilia is to simply make sure that no man ever gets anywhere near a child. Women can be trusted to never, ever abuse kids in any way. How refreshingly simple!

    • “Women can be trusted to never, ever abuse kids in any way. How refreshingly simple!”

      And what a world of opportunity for female pedophiles.

      • jesus_marley says:

        “And what a world of opportunity for female pedophiles.”

        It gets even better. Even if caught, the behaviour is excused, denied, or euphemized to the point that it was a loving relationship with a young man who was lucky to be getting the attention from a mature woman who could guide him into sexual awareness. Either that or the little bastard is a rapist.

  7. Being guaranteed to not have to sit next to a child at no extra charge? Probably the most concise and convincing explanation of male privilege I have ever seen!

    • wellokaythen says:

      I hadn’t thought about it that way, but this is certainly a silver lining.

      Unless the kid is sitting behind you kicking your seat….

  8. Random_Stranger says:

    “4% and 43% of child molesters are female”
    You know, someone will try to justify the airline’s policy with stats and others will try to discredit the stats, I just got to say SCREW THE STATS!

    The moment we accept one policy justifying discrimination on the basis of gender is the moment we accept all policies justifying discrimination on the basis of gender. If these airlines are permitted to cite a statistic and a parental complaint to establish a policy legitimizing bigotry and fear then they create a precedent encouraging future gender discrimination. How could anyone criticize them if they used a similar tactic to hire only female stewards or male pilots?

    This policy also marks a trend that is particularly insidious and foreboding. We’re witnessing a steady institutionalizing of a culture of fear of strange men which has materialized in separating men from women and men from children. Nobody benefits from this. Women and children are afraid to seek assistance from strange men even if in desperate need, men are afraid and discouraged to intervene in the life of a child, and boys in particular have no sense of what it means to grow into a positive and respected individual.

    Unless we all want to take a giant step backwards, then these policies cannot stand. Where is the massive boycott on this?

  9. I don't know says:
    • I’ve heard that many counselors, etc do not believe boys who report a female sexual abuser, if true that could lead to less females being arrested or known about skewing the results. Does anyone know if it’s true or have the study saying it? I can’t find it at the moment.

    • wellokaythen says:

      Fair enough. I won’t dispute those figures here.

      But, if we’re going to use crime statistics, then let’s use ALL of them. Men are also more likely to commit murder and more likely to be the victims of murder. Therefore, the airlines should take note of this and seat NO ONE next to any man. Give every man his own row, and make the women and children scrunch up in their own separate section. For their own safety, of course.

      In fact, the sex abuse stats generally show that children are MUCH more at risk at the hands of a relative than at the hands of a stranger. Therefore, if there is any molestation prevention policy, it should be the OPPOSITE of the airline’s current policy. Your children are statistically safer with a stranger than with a relative, so children ought to be separated from their families and seated next to strangers. For their own safety, of course.

      That’s what the numbers would suggest….

  10. wellokaythen says:

    Silly question, but how does the airline keep track of who is male and female? There’s no M or F on the boarding pass. If it’s based on appearance, then the policy is basically not putting anyone who LOOKS to be male next to an unaccompanied minor. If it’s based on your first name, well, that’s not always very conclusive. The flight attendant is in the position of guessing, in some cases.

    I wonder if the airline trusts its own male employees, or if the policy extends to them as well. No male flight attendants serving beverages to children, no male gate agents talking to kids, no helping kids open the lavatory doors, no giving kids chewing gum to help their earaches, etc. Let’s hope the kid doesn’t choke on anything, because only females would be allowed to perform the Heimlich.

    I agree with Sarah. This is de facto discrimination against women as well, because it means that women HAVE to sit next to kids.


  1. […] Airlines: Men Can’t Sit Near Unaccompanied Minors August 20, 2012By adminOzy Frantz writes at the Good Men Project: Virgin Airlines apparently does not allow men to sit next to unaccompanied minor children, but […]

  2. […] This is a comment by Random_Stranger on the post “Virgin Airlines: Men Can’t Sit Near Unaccompanied Minors“. […]

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