To combat the growing reports of midflight sexual assault, one of India ‘ s national airline will now offer women in the seating area for women only to fly.
Air India says the special seats will come at no additional cost to the passengers and will only be offered on domestic flights, for the moment, reports the Hindu.
“We will soon reserve two rows (six seats) for women passengers only,” Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani told The Hindu.
The move comes amid a series of high-profile incidents where women reported being groped on Air India flights on two different occasions.
VIRGIN AMERICA PASSENGER IS CHARGED WITH SEXUALLY ASSAULTING FEMALE COMPANION CHAIR
On Dec. 21, a 40-year-old male passenger travelling from Mumbai to Newark, New Jersey on a plane of Air India reportedly has moved to a open place to sit next to a female passenger who had been sleeping, The passenger allegedly from groping the female flier, and, upon awakening, she reported the incident to the cabin crew and filed a complaint with authorities in the U.S.
Less than two weeks later, an Air India hostess said that she had been touched well by a male passenger on a flight to Delhi from Muscat, according to the reports of The Times of India.
Days after the two incidents, the airline announced that every flight would be equipped with plastic handcuffs, the limit of the passengers caught killing others.
Now, to continue its efforts to ensure female pilots that the airline is safe, the third row of the economy class cabin will be designated for the female travellers, with three chairs on either side of the aisle. Only women who are traveling alone, without family members may reserve a seat in the new section.
Reserved space for women is not the end of aircraft. Several cities in India have introduced women-only sections on certain local and long-distance trains and buses.
Tokyo introduced women-only carriages on the metro and train is more than a decade ago. China has also experimented with women-only bus service in an attempt to reduce the number of groping incidents.
FOR THE LATEST TRAVEL FEATURES FOLLOW FOX LIFESTYLE ON FACEBOOK
But Air India is receiving praise and criticism for the new movement.
“Air India to reserve seats for women in each flight, great insult for young independent strong women, this is the reason why we need feminism,” one critic posted on Twitter.
Air India for the booking of seats for women in each flight, great insult for young independent strong women, this is the reason why we need feminism.
— EngiNerd. (@mainbhiengineer) 12 January 2017
Air India domestic flights to book for women. Soon we will have seats reserved for SC/ST. Stop this stupidity before it is too far
— Anshul Saxena (@AskAnshul) 12 January 2017
Others applaud the initiative.
Tribute to #AirIndia for the reservation of seats exclusively for #Women ! Other Airlines also have a cue and follow this example.
— Gurudas Kamat (@KamatGurudas) January 13, 2017
Air India has faced criticism over the rights of women problems in the past. In September 2015, the airline announced that the ground conductor 125, the cabin crew because they were overweight. Most of the attendants were women. At the time of the airline, claimed the decision was based solely on safety concerns.