Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

Some airline passengers don't know how to behave.

Often, these airline passengers are known as men.

Of course, that's an unscientific observation, but somehow so many air rage incidents appear to involve men getting angry for one reason or another.

There are other sorts of unacceptable behaviors on planes, too.

Recently, Air India has seen more than one report of male passengers allegedly groping women.

Instead of platitudes about such incidents being supposedly rare, the airline has decided to offer women-only seats on its flights.

As The Hindu reports, these will be third-row seats -- there will be 6 on each flight -- and will come at no extra charge.

"We feel, as national carriers, it is our responsibility to enhance comfort level to female passengers," Meenakshi Malik, Air India's general manager of revenue management, told The Hindu. "There are a lot of female passengers who travel alone with us and we will be blocking a few seats for them."

Airlines can talk about zero tolerance all they want, however Air India clearly sees this as a problem that needs to be addressed.

The question is whether this is the right way to address it.

Naturally, not everyone believes this is a wise move. Some talk of it being sex discrimination.

For example, this from someone called EngiNerd on Twitter: "Air India to reserve seats for women in every flight, big insult to young independent strong women, this is why we need feminism."

The fact is, though, that other forms of transportation in India do have specific seats for women.

Former Air India executive Jitendra Bhargava has a different logic. He told The Hindu of the new women-only rows: "To my knowledge, this happens nowhere in the world. Planes are not unsafe for women passengers. In cases of unruly behavior, the airline crew are authorized to take action as per the law."

There's clearly evidence that some flights will house unpleasant, ignorant, disgraceful characters, some of whom should be locked up for their actions.

And moves such as Air India's do happen elsewhere in the world.

Last year, the Chinese city of Zhengzhou introduced women-only buses in order to prevent harassment. More than a decade ago, Tokyo decided that it had had enough of male gropers and offered women-only carriages on trains. Should flights be exempt from such ideas, especially as planes are now becoming ever more cramped and unpleasant?

Air India looked at the circumstances in which it finds itself and took action. This will be as controversial as if it decided to do nothing at all. It might, though, make some women feel better about getting on one of its flights, just as it might appall others.

But let's not be tempted to heap too much praise on this airline for its enlightenment (or not) toward women.

Two years ago, it decided to ground 125 cabin crew members -- mostly women -- for being "overweight."

Published on: Jan 16, 2017
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