Male Nurse Feels Humiliated By Qantas Policy - U2 Feedback

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Old 08-15-2012, 12:41 PM   #1
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Male Nurse Feels Humiliated By Qantas Policy

How is that not gender discrimination? The airlines say they are just protecting kids -also themselves since they have been sued over this in the past. But I can't imagine being a guy and being moved for that reason, being treated like an automatic potential sex offender. Apparently even the mayor of London was also separated from his kids once because he was seated next to an unaccompanied minor. This is the policy of several airlines.

Qantas | Airline | Unaccompanied child policy | Man 'humiliated'

A nurse was made to feel as if he had a sign that read "kiddie fiddler" over his head after he was moved away from a young girl on a Qantas flight, he said.

Daniel McCluskie said he had a similar experience to a firefighter on a Virgin Australia flight when he was made to switch seats with a woman because he was sitting next to an unaccompanied child.

Qantas has defended its policy, saying it is consistent with that of other airlines around the world and reflects parents' concerns.

Mr McCluskie, 31, is a senior nurse at the local health district in Wagga Wagga and was flying from the city to Sydney in June when he said he was humiliated by the cabin crew.

He was seated in the second last row of the flight next to a girl he estimated to be 10 years old.

After the safety demonstration, a flight attendant asked a woman on the opposite side of the aisle to swap seats with Mr McCluskie.

After the plane was in the air and the meals had been served, Mr McCluskie said he went to the back of the aircraft to ask why he had been moved and was told it was the policy of Qantas not to have men sit next to unaccompanied children.

"There were people that looked during the actual move, people looked at me or looked around because there was a bit of a ruckus at the back of the plane," he said.

"And then the man in front of me throughout the flight kept looking at me and obviously my sense of paranoia was heightened, if you want to call it that, because of what had occurred.

"After the plane had taken off, the air hostess thanked the woman that had moved but not me, which kind of hurt me or pissed me off a bit more because it appeared I was in the wrong, because it seemed I had this sign I couldn't see above my head that said 'child molester' or 'kiddie fiddler' whereas she did the gracious thing and moved to protect the greater good of the child."

Mr McCluskie said he has working-with-children checks almost yearly and told the flight staff he found his treatment and the policy insulting and discriminatory.

He asked to speak to a manager when the plane landed in Sydney and was told there was no one available on the weekend who could talk to him.

Instead he was given a customer care card to fill out with his feedback.

Mr McCluskie said he did not hear back from Qantas and followed up his complaint with an email more than a week ago but still did not hear back from the airline.

It was not until he tweeted about it last Wednesday – two days before the news broke of Virgin's treatment of one its male customers – that he got a response.

"They got back with a semi-sympathetic apology, if that," he said.

"I was just told it was the policy and it was what people who send unaccompanied minors on flights want and it's not their fault, which I disagreed with at the time ...

"I think it absolutely sucks; it's totally and utterly discriminatory in my mind. It's a complete and utter generalisation ...

"You don't know who the person is and it's highly unlikely [that a child will be harmed on a flight]. If a child is going to be harmed or hurt it's probably going to be by someone closer to them than a stranger on a flight.

"I was absolutely fuming. I couldn't have been angrier at Qantas."

Mr McCluskie said he would like to see the policy either scrapped completely, have parents fly with their children if they were really concerned or have Qantas chaperones fly with children and look after them.

"I hate to say this but it is a sign of that reverse discrimination that occasionally exists out there," he said.

Virgin Australia announced a review of its policy on Friday after a backlash to the story of fireman Johnny McGirr, who was asked to move seats away from two children on a Brisbane to Sydney flight in April.

A Qantas spokesman confirmed the policy, but said it was rare that a passenger was asked to swap seats after boarding the plane.

"Qantas's policy is consistent with other airlines around the world and is designed to minimise risk," he said.

"The policy reflects parents' concerns and the need to maximise the child's safety and well-being.

"In most instances unaccompanied children are allocated seats prior to boarding and there are no issues.

"On the rare occasion where a male passenger is seated next to an unaccompanied child, airlines need to take care when moving passengers to ensure this is done discreetly and respectfully."

Qantas policy states that unaccompanied minors must not be seated next to an adult male customer or in an exit row and in some circumstances, a window seat.

Where possible Qantas aims to seat children near crew areas or next to an empty seat.

"We try to pre-seat children in the most appropriate areas. However, due to late bookings we will sometimes need to move the child to seat them in a more appropriate area," the spokesman said.

In 2010, British Airways changed its policy that men travelling alone could not sit next to unaccompanied children after they were taken to court for contravening the Sex Discrimination Act.

British Airways now seats unaccompanied children in their own area after businessman Mirko Fischer sued the company when flight staff asked him to move away from a child after he had switched seats with his pregnant wife.

BA denied its policy was discriminatory but admitted to sex discrimination in Mr Fisher's case and agreed to pay him £2161 in costs and £750 in damages.

Virgin policy change after male passenger was moved away from children
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:51 PM   #2
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What a completely ridiculous policy. How is this NOT discrimination?


Soooo, according to Qantas all males are possible sex offenders now?
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:52 PM   #3
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"You don't know who the person is and it's highly unlikely [that a child will be harmed on a flight]. If a child is going to be harmed or hurt it's probably going to be by someone closer to them than a stranger on a flight.
Exactly. I think it is rare for a child molester to hurt a child in a public space like a plane.

I also agree that it is gender discrimination. As of late, the media has been reporting on adult women going after teenage boys. Should we now prevent grown women from sitting next to them on planes?
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:52 PM   #4
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I could see why he'd feel embarrassed - most people (maybe all) on that plane wouldn't know about the policy and might assume that he'd done something untoward.

I get why the policy exists and why parents of kids who travel unaccompanied might insist on it. But in that case what I don't get is why the airline wouldn't simply use their logic and common sense and only seat unaccompanied minors next to women at the point of the check-in rather than moving people around rather obviously once everybody is already on board.
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:59 PM   #5
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I get why the policy exists and why parents of kids who travel unaccompanied might insist on it.

But why feed their prejudices? Are all men potential pedophiles?

eta: As a woman, I wouldn't want to automatically be seated next to unaccompanied minors simply due to my sex. I don't want to sit by any kids at all, but I guess I'm safer than a man?
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:59 PM   #6
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Quite disturbing in all aspects of this story.

However, if a parent must feel that it is necessary to send their child unsupervised, I would expect for them to teach their children a little street smarts. Such as I when I was younger and I traveled unaccompanied. I was told that there were bad people out there, all around me, predators that seek out children to exploit. Then I was given the definition of exploit and not to tolerate it, in an airplane, airport, mall, store, WHEREVER! End result? NOBODY is going to touch me without a severe screaming and hitting hissyfit!
The flight attendants on this crew could have been more discreet and less judgmental, but however, this is from the nurse's point of view. You must remember there are always more sides to every story. Flight attendants should have reimbursed him with some sort of favour for his immediate cooperation, but it just doesn't seem like he was cooperative at all.
If the nurse had just quietly got up and did what he was asked and asked questions later, maybe none of this might have happened.
There have been so many times I have seen people get angry or oppositional even at the slightest inconvenience, it's just really not necessary.
All of this could have been avoided without anger and lawsuits... all I'm saying.

Moral of the story: he got his feelings hurt. wah wah wah. That's life.

Or should we sit here and write down each and every time someone has insulted or humiliated us and file lawsuits?
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:01 PM   #7
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Why did they feel the need to include "male nurse" in the headline?
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:03 PM   #8
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Moral of the story: he got his feelings hurt. wah wah wah. That's life.

Or should we sit here and write down each and every time someone has insulted or humiliated us and file lawsuits?
We all get insulted and humiliated from time to time. But the nurse felt like he was being accused of being a pedophile - which a heinous thing to label someone as due to the all the outrage it can cause.

I also understand why parents wouldn't want their unaccompanied kid sit next to a male stranger - its the belief of the "dirty old man" that has been around for decades. But it is sad that all men can be labeled as one these days.
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:11 PM   #9
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We all get insulted and humiliated from time to time. But the nurse felt like he was being accused of being a pedophile - which a heinous thing to label someone as due to the all the outrage it can cause.
Nobody accused him of anything. They were just following policy. When the police pull me over at a RIDE checkpoint, I don't think I'm being accused of drunk driving. He's being a little oversensitive
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:12 PM   #10
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But why feed their prejudices? Are all men potential pedophiles?
Because I am assuming that it's probably far more annoying for them to deal with irrational parents than it is to adopt this policy. Usually when there is a policy that doesn't make sense, it exists because some party with vested interest really pushed for it.
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:14 PM   #11
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Why did they feel the need to include "male nurse" in the headline?
Yeah, that confused me as I read it. His occupation was totally irrelevant.
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:21 PM   #12
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They included Male Nurse for a little empathy because we all think that ALL nurses are non-predatory of nature.
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:17 PM   #13
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What if he had been travelling with a wife/girlfriend. Would they have been asked to exchange places so she would be sitting next to the child instead? Or because he's married would the staff turn a blind eye? I can understand parents' concerns, but this just seems like OTT paranoia. Will it get to the stage where single men won't be allowed to sit next to an unaccompanied child in a movie theater, on a train, a bus...
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:23 PM   #14
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They included Male Nurse for a little empathy because we all think that ALL nurses are non-predatory of nature.
I think you're being a little tongue in cheek, but there are some pretty fucked up nurses out there.
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:34 PM   #15
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As a woman, I wouldn't want to automatically be seated next to unaccompanied minors simply due to my sex. I don't want to sit by any kids at all, but I guess I'm safer than a man?
exactly. i don't hate kids, but i wouldn't want them to sit there and make conversation with me or something. on a plane i'm there to sit and listen to my ipod and watch movies. i flew several times (alone) as a kid so i've even been on the other side and didn't give a shit who i sat next to, male or female, young or old. but now that i'm an adult i wouldn't want some kid maybe thinking i can be their babysitter or new bff.

but even getting back to the original point, it's ridiculous. no matter what his profession was, this guy wasn't a threat.
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