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SAUDIA Issues Statement Denying it Has Plans to Segregate Planes by Sex

SAUDIA Issues Statement Denying it Has Plans to Segregate Planes by Sex
Jeff Edwards

07saudi

In response to a firestorm created by press and social media that the airline is considering a plan to segregate cabins by gender, Saudi Arabian Airlines issued a statement denying the reports.

Saudi Arabian Airlines — operating as SAUDIA — has released a statement denying reports that it plans to enforce new rules prohibiting unrelated male and female passengers from being seated next to each other. The statement, citing “an informed source at the airline,” declares: “We would like to emphasize that no SAUDIA official has made any statement on gender segregation.”

Earlier reports highlighted a statement from SAUDIA Marketing Vice President Abdul Rahman Al-Fahd, who was responding to complaints about female passengers being seated next to non-family male passengers, about a supposed plan by the airline to segregate flyers by gender. “We have introduced some solutions this week and we are awaiting its result,” Al-Fahd posted to his official Twitter on December 30.

According to a statement from the flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, “Some Arab and foreign media websites wrongly interpreted this reply to report that SAUDIA was planning segregation.”

SAUDIA said that Al-Fahd was referring to a specific instance when a flight was delayed 15 minutes while passengers were reseated to accommodate a family’s request to be seated together. The airline noted that its website allows families to choose seat assignments prior to check-in, but did not elaborate on what new solutions Al-Fahd was referencing in his tweet.

[Photo: Saudi Arabian Airlines Facebook]

View Comments (4)

4 Comments

  1. mre5765

    mre5765

    January 7, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Wouldn’t the obvious solution be to take a page from WN, and have a section where seats are unassigned, and let families self select those seats during boarding?

  2. diver858

    January 7, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Wouldn’t the obvious solution be to take a page from WN, and have a section where seats are unassigned, and let families self select those seats during boarding?

    What happens when:
    – The last person to board a full cabin is a woman, only empty seat is next to a man?
    – Woman CHOOSES an empty seat next to a man?

    At least in the US, all airlines know the gender of each passenger, it should be possible to code seat selection software to prevent a man and woman on different PNRs to sit next to each other.

  3. DirtyDan

    DirtyDan

    January 7, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    If you’ve ever been on a flight in the ME and witnessed the cultural seat-shuffle-based-on-sex shenanigans that takes place when people are boarding, you’d be all over the segregated seating arrangements. Men in Odd, Women in even maybe? (I’m really trying hard not to judge this practice based upon my own common-sense/ethnocentric point of view.)

  4. mre5765

    mre5765

    January 8, 2015 at 7:42 am

    @diver: women who cannot stand to sit next to unrelated men don’t have a problem on WN. All they do is 1. Travel with a male relative and 2. Checkin at t-24 hours to assure that she and her male relative will board early enough such that the male sits in the middle seat, and she gets the window or aisle.

    Short of purchasing two or more seats, there is no way to assure an unaccompanied woman will not sit next to a male who is a stranger.

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