New Delhi, January 14 (The Hindu): India’s national carrier Air India will now be reserving six seats in the front rows of domestic flights for women, The Hindu reported.
In the past, buses, trains and even auto-rickshaws in India have reserved seats for women, but this is the first time an airline has implemented such a policy.
“We will soon reserve two rows (or six seats) for women passengers only,” Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani told The Hindu. The airline will not be charging any additional fee for blocking such seats for women passengers.
“We feel, as national carriers, it is our responsibility to enhance comfort level to female passengers. There are a lot of female passengers who travel alone with us and we will be blocking a few seats for them,” said Air India general manager-revenue management Meenakshi Malik.
The announcement comes a week after a business-class passenger aboard a US-bound flight from Mumbai to Newark allegedly grabbed a female passenger’s breasts while she was asleep on Air India flight AI-191.
According to reports, the man was travelling in business class when he requested to be moved to a vacant seat in economy class, next to a female passenger. Soon after the woman fell asleep, the man, 40, groped her. It was then that the woman woke up hysterical, and complained to the cabin crew.
The policy will take effect on January 18. But many people, unhappy with the ‘discriminatory’ policy, took to Twitter to criticise it.