Alpine Summit

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

G'Day! Now MOVE!

Those who have read my blog for any sustained amount of time probably know I'm all for racial profiling when trying to prevent hijackings or when looking for criminals. So what I'm about to say is going to sound hypocritical, but bear with me and I'll hopefully explain myself: this is crap.

Two airlines "down under" are under fire after acknowledging their policy of not allowing an unaccompanied child passenger to sit next to a man.

The policy emerged when a New Zealand man said he was asked by airline staff to move because an unaccompanied minor had been assigned the seat next to him.

Mark Worsley was told to swap seats with a woman sitting nearby, who then moved into the seat next to the boy, about eight years old, for the 80-minute flight.

"I was pretty shocked -- I think most people would be," the 37-year-old shipping manager and father of two said Tuesday.

The reason I think this is total crap is because the airline assumes the man is a pedophile right off the bat and that it is incumbent on him to oblige the second party. Their position on this is totally wrong, in my opinion, because it assumes the man is a pedophile and essentially it's up to HIM to prove that he isn't.

That said, I can understand the companies' policy as being prudent and preventative from a business standpoint. I think this is another example where practical application of theoretically prudent behavior diverges. The goal is to prevent any pedophelia going on, but when practically applied, causes the disenfranchisement of a group of people. This is exactly like affirmative action in that respect. All the law says is a business has to take an "affirmative action" to hire a fair mix of diversity--not that they HAVE to hire certain people simply because they're black or a woman or amputees or anything else like that. Unfortunately that's how affirmative action laws are applied simply because businesses don't want to be held liable for wrong-doing. Court costs are non-value added costs and as such, there is an effort to avoid such things.

Now I said this would make me sound hypocritical based on my support for racial profiling, but to me, this policy is like forbidding any arab male between the age of 18 and 40 from even stepping foot on a plane (as opposed to simply taking more care when checking them out). Another way to put this is like saying to an arab: "we have overbooked this flight and a white person will be flying, we would ask that you take our bus service so they can have your seat." It's completely discriminatory and legitimately unfair.

A better policy for the airlines to take would be to either move the child (before they're aware of where they're supposed to sit), or simply monitor the man and child more closely--not that a prudent pervert would try anything in public, but I realize there are idiots in this world.