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Air India To Offer Special Seating Options For Solo Female Passengers


  • Air India is offering alternative seating options for solo female travelers and mothers traveling alone with their children to enhance comfort and security.
  • The decision came from feedback received from past female passengers who experienced discomfort when assigned a middle seat.
  • Air India’s initiative is called “Gender-sensitive seat assignment practice” and it allows staff to change seats at their discretion to protect the well-being of select passengers.

The newly rejuvenated Air India is set to offer alternative seating options for females traveling alone, the latest move, reported by the Hindustan Times. According to the release, Air India will encourage solo female travelers and mothers traveling with their children alone to pick alternative seats for free.

In a directive from the carrier, these solo passengers will be offered a window or aisle seat, depending on their preference.

Air India Boeing 787-8 taxiing

Photo: Media_works | Shutterstock.

Children, mothers, and solo female travelers

The decision has come from the carrier as it looks to lift its popularity as the carrier of choice in India, and staff have been encouraged to use the seat selection discretion to ‘enhance the comfort and security of passengers.’

India’s leading carrier sent an internal communication to staff this week, on October 3rd, announcing the latest initiative, stating:

“To ensure the female guests traveling with us have a comfortable flight, we as a company are adopting a gender-sensitive seat assignment practice. A circular has been released by…team regarding the same.”

Air India Boeing 787 landing at London Heathrow Airport

Photo: IanC66 | Shutterstock

It appears the move came from feedback from past female passengers, who identified discomfort if assigned a middle seat when traveling alone. Furthermore, the initiative has been widely celebrated by airline staff, who have noted that some flights can have at least 10% solo women travelers and may not feel comfortable being seated between two males.

Airline critics have weighed in on their thoughts on the latest move, noting that the issue would not need to be raised should the airline have a ‘less chaotic’ seat allocation system when booking or check-in.

More detail from the carrier

While multiple media outlets have reiterated the airline is yet to confirm this to the public, information shared by the Hindustan Times further cemented the airline’s move to ensure the safety and well-being of females, mothers, or young children while flying with the carrier:

“In an endeavor to adopt the practice, cabin crew members should be mindful and discreet (but not limit themselves) while offering to reseat the below guests in case there are vacant seats available, females traveling alone seated between male passengers, mothers with infant seated in center seats could be relocated to a seat with bassinet location (preferably aisle) or window seat.”

Air India 787 @ Mumbai Airport

Photo: Yatrik Sheth/Shutterstock

Air India’s initiative has been named ‘Gender-sensitive seat assignment practice.’ It ensures that airport staff and crew can change seats at their discretion should they believe it is in the best interest of the select passengers.

It is not the first gender-based airline initiative.

Air India wouldn’t be the first carrier to hit the spotlight under gender-based seat selection; British Airways, Qantas, Air New Zealand, and Brisbane-based Virgin Australia have all hit the headlines in the past when the airlines noted that they would not allow unaccompanied children to be seated next to adult males when in flight. The reasoning is that ‘men are a danger to the children.’

Conversely, relaxing gender stereotypes is on Dutch carrier KLM’s mind; as reported by Simple Flying in May, the airline has relaxed titles, allowing passengers to select ‘X’ should other abbreviations not fit the bill.

A British Airways Airbus A320 parked at the terminal in Heathrow Airport.

Photo: Ceri Breeze/Shutterstock

Sources: Hindustan Times, News18

  • Air India Tile

    Air India

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport

    Year Founded:

    Star Alliance

    Campbell Wilson




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