A BBC report said yesterday (1/25) that in response to some females complaining that they’d been groped by other passengers, Air India is setting aside the first six rows in the coach class area for females only.
The airline also announced that cabin staff would have physical restraints available to them and crew will be authorized to use them to contain unruly passengers who refuse to cooperate voluntarily.
The station said that Air India is seeking to “enhance comfort level to female passengers” and reassure female passengers traveling alone.
In my limited experience flying Air India I’ve witnessed no groping incidents or anything of the sort. But I have been offended – to the point I felt I was being assaulted – by both bad breath and excessive body odors when flying with that carrier. And on transatlantic flights, that’s nevertheless a good deal less offensive than being groped – an experience I underwent once, on a NYC subway train at the 34th Street/6th Avenue station. That was more than 45 years ago, and the memory lingers on. I can only imagine what an unsuspecting female’s reaction would be.
I have no idea if air marshals continue to accompany all or most flights, but I were involved with security for Air India, I would work to address that issue – and let them, not ordinary cabin crew, deal with super rude fliers.