It may be 2015, but one airline reportedly has plans to gender separate their passengers completely. Due to religious and modesty regulations, the airline plans to “enforce” separation, according to a spokesman for the company.
The airline in question is Saudi Arabia’s national airline, Saudia as reported on the RT website. Saudia wants to separate male and female air travellers, mainly due to complaints from husbands who don’t like unknown men sitting next to their wives.
Saudia assistant manager for marketing Abdul Rahman Al Fahd told reporters, “There are solutions to this problem…we will soon enforce rules that will satisfy all passengers.”
As such, the airline hopes to begin arranging for check-in staff at the airport to assign separate seating for their passengers, unless they are closely related.
As widely reported, it isn’t just Muslims who have these modesty issues as Orthodox Jews also have similar laws calling for the separation of men and women in public.
Back in September, an El AL flight from New York to Israel’s Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport was delayed because some orthodox male flyers refused to sit next to women.
But while these religious practices are all fine for some people, they are not suitable for others, and certainly not on a public place like an airplane, where flight crews are constantly working against the clock to ensure their aircraft takes off on time.
It terms of the FAA’s rules for this type of crew disruption, Federal Aviation Regulations 91.11, 121.580 and 135.120 state that “no person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crewmember in the performance of the crewmember’s duties aboard an aircraft being operated.”
It therefore remains to be seen what course of action will be taken by Saudia airlines, and if plans to separate people based on gender is even legal, not to mention the logistical and ethical nightmare.