New Delhi: Air India will female-only seats in aircrafts with an aim to combat midflight assault allegations for women, especially those who fly alone.
The special seating arrangement would be available at no additional cost to passenger, the national air carrier of India, said.
The female only would only be offered on domestic flights during its initial rollout.
Meenakshi Malik, General Manager, Air India said that they would be reserving the third row that would have six seats in Economy Class of the aircraft for the female passengers who travel alone.
She added that since Air India represents the national air carrier of a nation it is their duty to ensure that the female passengers are entitled to a decent level of comfort. This is because there are several female passengers who travel with this brand. Therefore, they have made it a point to block certain seats especially for them.
The move comes in the wake of a few incidents wherein women have reported that they had been groped on Air India flights on two different occasions.
On December 21, a 40-year-old male passenger who was travelling to Newark in New York from Mumbai was travelling on a flight of Air India. He was shifted to an open seat beside a female passenger who was asleep. The woman complained later that the passenger had started groping the passenger.
Once she awoke, she reported the incident to the cabin crew and also filed a complaint in the US.
About two weeks later, an air hostess complained that a male passenger had touched her inappropriately while they were on a flight from Muscat to Delhi.
A few days following the two incidents, the airline declared that every flight would be well-equipped with plastic handcuffs in order to prevent passengers from molesting others.
Also, to continue its efforts to reassure female fliers that the airlines company is absolutely safe, the third row of Economy Class would be designated for only the female passengers. There would be three seats on either side of the aisle.
Only the women without any family members, who are travelling alone would be eligible to reserve a seat in the specially reserved section.
Tokyo has come up with women-only vehicles on its train lines and metro lines more than 10 years ago.
China has also explored the concept of women-only bus service as it wanted to cut down on the large number of groping incidents.