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View Poll Results: Should men be allowed to sit next to unaccompanied minors?

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  • Yes

    38 57.58%
  • No

    7 10.61%
  • Yes, unless the minor's parents request otherwise

    15 22.73%
  • Another option, I'll explain

    6 9.09%
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Thread: Airlines forbid men from sitting next to unaccompanied minors

  1. #1
    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
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    Airlines forbid men from sitting next to unaccompanied minors

    (TW: Sexual assault)


    I've read this in a few places, so snippets from each:

    From a recent article

    A nurse was made to feel as if he had a sign that read "kiddie fiddler" over his head after he was moved away from a young girl on a Qantas flight, he said.

    Daniel McCluskie said he had a similar experience to a firefighter on a Virgin Australia flight when he was made to switch seats with a woman because he was sitting next to an unaccompanied child.

    Qantas has defended its policy, saying it is consistent with that of other airlines around the world and reflects parents' concerns.

    Mr McCluskie, 31, is a senior nurse at the local health district in Wagga Wagga and was flying from the city to Sydney in June when he said he was humiliated by the cabin crew.

    He was seated in the second last row of the flight next to a girl he estimated to be 10 years old.

    After the safety demonstration, a flight attendant asked a woman on the opposite side of the aisle to swap seats with Mr McCluskie.

    After the plane was in the air and the meals had been served, Mr McCluskie said he went to the back of the aircraft to ask why he had been moved and was told it was the policy of Qantas not to have men sit next to unaccompanied children.

    "There were people that looked during the actual move, people looked at me or looked around because there was a bit of a ruckus at the back of the plane," he said.

    "And then the man in front of me throughout the flight kept looking at me and obviously my sense of paranoia was heightened, if you want to call it that, because of what had occurred.

    "After the plane had taken off, the air hostess thanked the woman that had moved but not me, which kind of hurt me or pissed me off a bit more because it appeared I was in the wrong, because it seemed I had this sign I couldn't see above my head that said 'child molester' or 'kiddie fiddler' whereas she did the gracious thing and moved to protect the greater good of the child."

    Mr McCluskie said he has working-with-children checks almost yearly and told the flight staff he found his treatment and the policy insulting and discriminatory.

    And then a piece from the Telegraph by the Mayor of London:

    I mean, come off it, folks. How many paedophiles can there be? Are we really saying that any time an adult male finds himself sitting next to someone under 16, he must expect to be hustled from his seat before the suspicious eyes of the entire cabin?

    What about adult females? Every week there is some new tale of what a saucy French mistress is deemed to have done with her adolescent charges behind the bicycle sheds; and, disgraceful though these episodes may be, I don't hear anyone saying that children should be shielded from adult women. Do you? Or maybe I'm wrong — maybe all adults will have to carry personal cardboard partitions with them on every plane or train, just in case they find themselves sitting next to under-16s.

    Even as I write, I can imagine the lip-pursing of some of my lovely high-minded readers. How would you like it, they will say, if some weird chap was plonked next to your kids? And they are right that I would worry about some strange adult sitting next to my children, chiefly because I wouldn't want the poor fellow to come to any harm.
    To all those who worry about the paedophile plague, I would say that they not only have a very imperfect understanding of probability; but also that they fail to understand the terrible damage that is done by this system of presuming guilt in the entire male population just because of the tendencies of a tiny minority.

    And then much older: A 2009 story on just how often child molestation on airplanes occur and under which circumstances:

    Although an airplane full of potential witnesses may seem an unlikely place for a child to be molested, criminal and civil lawyers who have handled these cases say that the controlled and confined yet anonymous environment is well suited for a child predator.

    In going over the news stories, court documents, and FBI reports on the molestation cases, certain patterns begin to emerge. The predators were all adult males, although they did not fit any other stereotype. One was a computer consultant from India. Two were Hasidic Jews. Another was a world-renowned hairdresser from Savannah, Georgia.

    In a majority of the instances, a man switched seats to be next to a child traveling alone. Also, a significant number of the reported molestations occurred on evening flights, when the victim and any potential witnesses were asleep. Several children reported that when the touching began, it seemed accidental or even well intentioned, and only later crossed the line.

    How about a poll? What say you? I'm on the fence. I think it would help to not allow people to move to sit next to minors, but I suppose it can be hard to keep track of people moving. I'm on flights all the time where you technically aren't supposed to switch seats, and yet I do it anyway. It is hard to argue with the numbers, however. There is a huge difference between 90% of the incidents involving men and 100%. But then, the numbers again, this is exceedingly rare.

  2. #2
    All Living is Local Don's Avatar
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    Yet one more reason why I never intend to step on a commercial aircraft. I get a little ticked off by the whole "presumed guilty" routine.
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  3. #3
    Behaving SuperModerator
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    They should forbid men from sitting in the seat behind a very active child who wants to play peek-a-boo . . .
    .

  4. #4
    Lost in the Fog rugcat's Avatar
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    Where is the poll option for "This is one of the stupidest rules ever?"
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  5. #5
    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugcat View Post
    Where is the poll option for "This is one of the stupidest rules ever?"
    I think that would fall under "another option."

  6. #6
    Dragon of the Multiverse AW Moderator Zoombie's Avatar
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    I totally trust airlines to decide what is right and appropriate for unaccompanied minors.
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  7. #7
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    I'm just pissed off from events at the day job so there's no logical, rational way of me replying to this without using the words "goddamned", "fucking", or "stupid".
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  8. #8
    She blinded me--with magic! third person's Avatar
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    Because only men molest and kidnap kids? There are just as many women that (sadly) commit these horrible acts as men. What's next, no blacks and hispanics in business class because of the potential for smartphone/tablet theft?
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  9. #9
    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by third person View Post
    Because only men molest and kidnap kids? There are just as many women that (sadly) commit these horrible acts as men. What's next, no blacks and hispanics in business class because of the potential for smartphone/tablet theft?
    This would only be comparable if every recorded incidence of smart phone theft was committed by a black/Hispanic.

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by third person View Post
    Because only men molest and kidnap kids? There are just as many women that (sadly) commit these horrible acts as men. What's next, no blacks and hispanics in business class because of the potential for smartphone/tablet theft?
    Ok, I think this rule is beyond ridiculous, inane and incredibly stupidly reactionary.

    However, no, there aren't just as many women who molest and kidnap kids - not even close.

    Juvenile females have been a growing offender class but aside from that, the offenders in cases of abduction and molestation of strange children are overwhelmingly male.

    These though, are rare crimes. The vast majority of molestations are committed by people known to the children and families. Stranger abductions are very, very rare.

  11. #11
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by third person View Post
    Because only men molest and kidnap kids? There are just as many women that (sadly) commit these horrible acts as men. What's next, no blacks and hispanics in business class because of the potential for smartphone/tablet theft?
    Nonsense, and if you're going to make assertions like that, you need to provide some actual sources.

    Just as an example:
    • 3/4 of the violent victimizations of children took place in either the victim's home or the offenders home.
    - BJS Survey of State Prison Inmates, 1991

    • Males are reported to be the abusers in 80-95% of cases
    -Thoringer, D., et al., 1988

    • About 60% of the male survivors sampled report at least one of their perpetrators to be female.
    - Mendel, 1993

    • All but 3% of offenders who committed violent crimes against children were male.
    - BJS Survey of State Prison Inmates, 1991

    •The typical offender is male, begins molesting by age 15, engages in a variety of deviant behavior, and molests an average of 117 youngsters, most of whom do not report the offense.
    - Dr. Gene Abel in a National Institute of Mental Health Study
    [emphasis added]

    • Offenders who had victimized a child were on average 5 years older than the violent offenders who had committed their crimes against adults. Nearly 25% of child victimizers were age 40 or older, but about 10% of the inmates with adult victims fell in that range.
    - BJS Survey of State Prison Inmates, 1991

    • 71% of male offenders are under the age of 35.
    - Dr. Ann Burges, Dr. Nicholas Groth, et al. in a study of imprisoned offenders

    • 3/4 of sexual predators are younger than 35. About 80% are of normal intelligence or above.
    - Profiles from the FBI Academy and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
    Statistically, the very great majority of child molesters are, in fact, male.

    But statistically speaking, exponentially more molestation would be prevented by never leaving children alone with their fathers, uncles, male neighbors, and older brothers than by not allowing them to sit next to a strange man on an airplane.
    Last edited by MacAllister; 08-15-2012 at 09:04 AM.

  12. #12
    Old revolutionary muravyets's Avatar
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    The majority of sex offenders of other kinds are male, too, but that still doesn't mean all men are sex offenders or child molesters. We all know that, of course. This rule treats all men as the worst kind of predatory criminal, by default. I can't get on board with it.

    But it does beg one question for me: Why the hell are so many minors flying unaccompanied? Who are these people shipping their kids all over creation by themselves, and fobbing the responsibility for their safety onto unknown airline employees (and what makes anyone think they are any more trustworthy than any random man on a plane; I mean if we suspect a stranger just for being male, why forget that men work for airlines, too)?*

    This strikes me as the wrong kind of rule. If the airlines want to pass an over-reaching, dysfunctional, unfair blanket rule to protect themselves from lawsuits, I think they would do better to ban unaccompanied minors than to paint all men as sexual predators.




    (*ETA: Yeah, I know that's four questions, but they're related, so I'm counting them all as one. Sue me.)
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  13. #13
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Of course it doesn't mean all or even most men are sex offenders or child molesters -- and I very specifically never said any such thing.

    What I said is that the assertion that "there are just as many women that (sadly) commit these horrible acts as men" was patently ridiculous and demonstrably false.

    Your unaccompanied kid is MUCH safer spending a few hours sitting next to a male stranger on an airplane than he is spending a weekend camping with a couple of uncles.

  14. #14
    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
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    I'm surprised it's such a common practice. But I don't imagine many people would argue when given a chance to *not* sit next to a kid.

    But again, I think it would be fair to say you can't switch seats so that you're next to a minor.

    I remember flying alone when I was young. My mom couldn't afford tickets for all of us and I hadn't seen my family in years. But yeah, they really didn't look after me at all. I remember being very anxious because I felt I was essentially responsible for figuring everything out myself. I was only 9.

  15. #15
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacAllister View Post
    Nonsense, and if you're going to make assertions like that, you need to provide some actual sources.

    Just as an example:


    Statistically, the very great majority of child molesters are, in fact, male.
    So it's okay to for airlines to profile, as long as it's by sex?

    This could have some interesting consequences. I could see flights being segregated, some men-only, and the others women (including women pilots)-and-children only. I wonder which would would be accompanied by fighter jets ready to shoot them down at a moment's trouble.
    But statistically speaking, exponentially more molestation would be prevented by never leaving children alone with their fathers, uncles, male neighbors, and older brothers than by not allowing them to sit next to a strange man on an airplane.
    So if we're going to profile by statistics, the only way I could be near a child is after I've been screened, including my private areas, for weapons and explosives, and while I'm locked in a commercial jet with them at 30,000 feet. As if I weren't already against flying...

    I wonder how much trouble I'm in. I recently gave my autographed copy of "Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue" to a minor.
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  16. #16
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoombie View Post
    I totally trust airlines to decide what is right and appropriate for unaccompanied minors.
    I can imagine new lyrics to the song "United Breaks Guitars."
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  17. #17
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benbradley View Post
    So it's okay to for airlines to profile, as long as it's by sex?
    Try that again? Where did I say any such thing, or even imply it? Cite it, please.

    In point of fact, everything I've said indicates that this rule is ridiculous on several levels.

  18. #18
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacAllister View Post
    Try that again? Where did I say any such thing, or even imply it? Cite it, please.

    In point of fact, everything I've said indicates that this rule is ridiculous on several levels.
    I was responding more to the original post, and I should have had this in my post as well:

    But all sarcasm aside, one has to wonder what the children learn from this. "Men are bad, they'll hurt you, so to protect you we'll move the men away from you."
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  19. #19
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Fair enough, Ben - thanks for the clarification.

  20. #20
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    Why did they not ask the child to move?

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  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by muravyets View Post
    The majority of sex offenders of other kinds are male, too, but that still doesn't mean all men are sex offenders or child molesters. We all know that, of course. This rule treats all men as the worst kind of predatory criminal, by default. I can't get on board with it.

    But it does beg one question for me: Why the hell are so many minors flying unaccompanied? Who are these people shipping their kids all over creation by themselves, and fobbing the responsibility for their safety onto unknown airline employees (and what makes anyone think they are any more trustworthy than any random man on a plane; I mean if we suspect a stranger just for being male, why forget that men work for airlines, too)?*

    This strikes me as the wrong kind of rule. If the airlines want to pass an over-reaching, dysfunctional, unfair blanket rule to protect themselves from lawsuits, I think they would do better to ban unaccompanied minors than to paint all men as sexual predators.




    (*ETA: Yeah, I know that's four questions, but they're related, so I'm counting them all as one. Sue me.)
    I used to fly as an unaccompanied minor on Virgin Airways when I was little to see my dad. I know lots of kids who flew as unaccompanied minors when they were little. Idk I never saw it as a big deal as you get a chaperone for the trip and the chaperone meets both parties that are to pick up/drop off the child. Chaperones are paid employees who are paid to look after children on the flight.

    But lol at that piece by Boris Johnson.

  22. #22
    Dead Men Tell No Tales Chasing the Horizon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenPanced View Post
    I'm just pissed off from events at the day job so there's no logical, rational way of me replying to this without using the words "goddamned", "fucking", or "stupid".
    This. Except I wasn't pissed off to start with. But I still can't think of a response without those three magic words.

    Third person may have gotten the statistics for sexual abuse and general child abuse crossed in their post. Women are just as likely to abuse or neglect a child as men, but far less likely to sexually assault them.

    Of course, molestation by strangers is vanishingly rare, especially in a plane. I mean, really, how would you rape a kid on a plane? Is there like some mile-high pedophile club I'm not aware of? So fucking stupid and I'm glad someone had the nerve to complain.
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  23. #23
    not napping... brainstorming! TudorRose's Avatar
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    D'oh! That single "no" vote in the poll was me, because I read the thread before going back to the question and didn't read it again - I thought it was "should be banned from"

    And they are right that I would worry about some strange adult sitting next to my children, chiefly because I wouldn't want the poor fellow to come to any harm.
    GO BORIS!

    ETA: On a more serious note though, I'm more worried about what kind of message we're sending young boys if we're creating a culture where the adults they're going to turn into are presumed to be predatory deviants. It's hard enough to get men into careers working with children where they can be much-needed male role models.
    Last edited by TudorRose; 08-15-2012 at 01:30 PM.

  24. #24
    Horror Man seun's Avatar
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    I would answer the question, but I'm too busy hiding in the bushes near a playground.

    You know, because I'm a man and that's what we do.

  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benbradley View Post
    So it's okay to for airlines to profile, as long as it's by sex?
    Not that the poster said it and not really to do with the original question - but profiling is a valuable tool and it'd be great if airlines could/would do it in general.

    In this country, it's neigh on impossible, for a number of reasons, but profiing is not bad. Profiing is a helpful, useful thing that has worked well many times.

    Racial profiling, religious profiling, etc., are the opposite of helpful or useful though and worse.

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