'Peace of mind': What readers think of a 'no middle seat' for women on planes initiative

2017-08-08 12:58 - Unathi Nkanjeni
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Cape Town - With this year marking 61 years since the inception of Women's Month, women around the world have become more independent and some brave enough to travel solo.

SEE: National Women’s Day: Events across SA to celebrate Mzansi’s women

In an attempt at making travel easy, New-Delhi based airline, Vistara introduced a scheme - Woman Flyer - offering preferential services to female passengers travelling solo in a bid to help ensure their “peace of mind” and the safety of their travel by assigning "only a window or aisle seat at check-in” to its female passengers.

SEE: Airline ensures 'peace of mind', exempting women from the middle seat

Although this claim is unclear whether or not it's part of safety or preference shown by the majority of Vistara's female passengers, Traveller24 hosted a poll on two different mediums (News24 and Traveller24's twitter) to see what travellers thought of the airline's initiative.

The results

At the time of writing this article, both polls showed a different total in numbers of votes. 

Some gave this initiative the thumbs up, while others said that this is a discrimination against men.

News24 poll results:

A total of 8 556 people engaged in the poll, with an estimated 53% raising concern about the discrimination against men.

Some 28% (2 383 votes) questioned the safety of children in relation to putting unaccompanied minors in the middle seat, while a stark 19% (1 602 votes)  agreed that this would give women and their loved ones a peace of mind.

Twitter poll results:

In overall, 41% votes were cast in favour that this initiative gave women peace of mind, a total of 40% votes were concerned for the safety of children, while 19% votes went in favour of discrimination against men.

Traveller24 reached out to some of the SA's airlines to get their opinion on the  matter and specifically around what their seating policies are for unaccompanied minors, but is awaiting a response.

Taking to the comment section

Apart from travellers having mixed feelings on this particular initiative, readers have contacted Traveller24 directly to share their views and opinions.

Taking to social media, Liziwe Ndalana‏ (@McNdalana) pointed out that she doesn't understand how the airline's safety measure meant exempting women from the middle seat.

"But we've been travelling on our own and with kids even. I don't understand," she tweeted.

Another reader, Gabi Zietsman, says she does not feel like it's a "women's issue".

"I don’t really feel it’s a women’s issue because no one regardless of gender wants to sit in a middle seat on a plane," says Zietsman.