Air New Zealand Stands on its Sexist Policy

Robert Cumming /

I recently sent a letter of complaint by email to Air New Zealand about their policy of treating all male passengers as potential child molesters, and seating them away from unescorted minors. True to the promise of their auto responder, I have received a more personal response. Rather I should say that they have responded with a non response.  Following is their email to me and then my response back to them.



Dear Mr Elam


Thank you for your email regarding your recent flights with us.


It was a pleasure to read your comments regarding the excellent standard of service which you received on your flights with us, and that you had an enjoyable stay in New Zealand. It is certainly always encouraging to receive feedback such as yours as it is proof to us that the high standards which we aim to provide are being maintained.


However, I am sorry to read of your disappointment in an aspect of our Unaccompanied Minor policy, namely in regards to not seating minors next to male passengers. By way of explanation, Air New Zealand ’s internal procedures relating to the seating of unaccompanied minors and young persons travelling alone are as follows:


  • For Crew surveillance reasons, unaccompanied minors and young persons travelling alone are normally seated together in the rear of the aircraft and next to the crew galley.
  • Where possible, a spare seat is kept empty next to unaccompanied minors and young persons travelling alone to be used by the crew where special attention is required.
  • Where a flight is full, we will endeavour to seat a female passenger next to unaccompanied minors and young persons travelling alone.


These procedures reflect the approach adopted by leading airlines around the world and have been in place for some time.


Mr Elam, thank you once again for taking the time to write in to us.  I trust that I have been able to address some of your concerns, and that we may have the opportunity of welcoming you and your wife onboard our flights again in the future.


Kind regards,


Claire McLister

Customer Support Specialist



Dear Ms McLister,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions, and in such a prompt manner.  However, your response would have been much more satisfying had you actually answered my questions rather than just tell me what I already knew, namely that it is Air New Zealand’s official policy to practice gender profiling against male passengers, regarding them all as threats from which the children on your planes need to be protected.

I sought in my query to find out why that was happening, Ms. McLister, not to get a non responsive reiteration of what I was obviously complaining about in the first place.

So I am here, asking you again.

What determinants did your airline use to arrive at such a policy?  How do you respond to my concerns that the policy is discriminatory and fostering inaccurate and negative stereotypes of fully half of your clients?

I am quite sorry, Ms. McLister, but your statement of “These procedures reflect the approach adopted by leading airlines around the world and have been in place for some time,” has the ring of a child excusing their poor judgment by saying “ Well, everyone else was doing it.”

First of all, not everyone else is doing it.  As I indicated in my original communication, Qantas, who appears to be your primary competitor among the USA to NZ air service providers, does not do it.  And, as I also reminded you, British Airways was recently sued over the policy, and was compelled to change it because there was no demonstrable reason to have it in the first place.

Your response to me, as courteous and professionally worded as it was, was simply avoidant of these points and the quite reasonable questions raised about your practices.

Would you kindly answer those questions, or am I to understand that you are going to defend a sexist policy by avoiding any meaningful discussion with a customer?

Lastly, Ms.McLister, I am not married, and so was not traveling with my wife. It appears you just made that assumption when seeing I was traveling with a female. Given the other assumptions you made about me, and all men boarding your flights, I should not, I suppose, be surprised.

It seems to be policy on all levels at Air New Zealand.

But I would nonetheless really appreciate either a straight answer from you regarding my inquiry, or the courtesy of forwarding these questions to someone who will provide as much.

Kind Regards,

Paul Elam

Claire McLister’s email address:

  • Whitney Dodman

    Tap dancing on a land mine.

  • kloo2yoo

    Stay on her, Paul.

  • John Kimble

    I’ve studied this issue very extensively and read news articles on the subject going back many years.

    There’s one significant mistake in your reply – in all my research and reading the ONLY other airline I can find operating the same policy is actually Qantas. (they wont’ actually admit to having the policy to customers, but they do admit it to media organsiations). In fact I believe the Air NZ policy was watered down very slightly in 2005, therefore the Qantas policy is slightly more misandric than that of Air NZ.

    I thoroughly recommend reading the Wikipedia article on the subject:

  • Theodore Labadie

    First of all, Whitney, your choice to use your name with an accompanying pic: very brave. Seriously, congrats.

    Second, in all my years of life I have never known any man to express a sexual desire for or to physically abuse minors. Not one. They have all been women. It is women who are the primary abusers of children.

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  • Anti Idiocy

    The only thing that keeps me from being fiercely enraged by such hateful, sexist policies is the fact that the vast majority of men who are discriminated against deserve what they are getting. The facts of the hatefulness and pervasiveness of feminism have been obvious for decades. The overwhelming majority of men choose to willfully ignore such policies, as long as they don’t feel personally victimized, or even choose to profit by supporting such policies.

    I’ve just decided that I will not travel to New Zealand as long as Air New Zealand has this policy, and, yes, I know that there are other ways of traveling there. The hateful or cowardly people of New Zealand need to boycott the airline.

  • Paul Elam

    @ John Kimble

    Thank you for posting that. I don’t know how I missed it. I was informed by men (MRA’s) living in Australia that Qantas did not have that policy, both here and on another MRA site.

    So thanks for the correction. Luckily, it has little bearing on the actions of ANZ, but as I continue with the research on this for future use, this will be very helpful.

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  • Hugh

    While I certainly understand and actually support the discriminatory policies regarding this issue, to be perfectly honest, I share a different view.

    After non stop air travel for most of my life due to my career, I consider it nothing but a BLESSING that a child is somehow segregated away from me. And if Air New Zealand’s policy is to indeed stick the children ‘to the back of the bus’….then I couldn’t be happier.

    Seriously, the less I have to deal with somebody else’s whiny kid, the better. Do you know how many times my seat has been kicked from behind non stop from somebody else’s kid? Do you know how many times I’ve been put next to or across somebody else’s kid who cries non stop during the flight? Do you think I really want to sit next to a fidgety child for fourteen hours going from L.A. to Auckland? nnnnnnnope. As far as I’m concerned, let the WOMAN be stuck with somebody else’s kid. It’s not like most of them actually have the PATIENCE these days to deal with it. So from my perspective, it’s ‘just rewards’. I stand nothing to gain but the wonderful sound of SILENCE by being supposedly ‘discriminated’ against. Seriously… what are we trying to prove here? LET the women be the ones to put up with it all. Isn’t that what we’ve been complaining about for a long time?; That women have gotten out of their ‘traditional roles’ in regards to kids?

    If you really think about it….. this is actually a GOOD thing for men. There was a time in the old days where the kids were basically told, by MEN, to go somewhere else while the men enjoyed their peace…. lest they be a nuisance.

    LET the women deal with it…. they deserve nothing but the best….

  • Hugh

    For the record, I made an error in my typing… but was going too fast. I meant to say “…and actually support Paul’s stance on the disctriminatory policies…”… lest I be misinterpreted.

    Thank you….

  • Hugh

    And to further my stance…. I submit this. As I said… let the women be the ones to deal with it. Just don’t be the guy at the end of the jetway… : )

  • Keyster

    I agree with Hugh. Women should be MADE to sit with children.
    They’re actually being discriminated AGAINST in this case.
    Why don’t women wake up and protest against this miscarriage of justice?
    I might write them and thank them for treating men so favorably!
    But I’m afraid that would get them to rescind their policy.

  • B. R. Merrick

    Hugh, you bring up an interesting perspective, but what if you wanted the kid to sit next to you? What if it was a kid you liked?

    You’re actually getting the worst of both worlds right now. I haven’t flown since 2000 (and now with the TSA completely ruining it, I may never fly again), but whiny kids can be heard throughout the cabin, and a kid seated with a pure, sweet, good, kind woman (and they’re all like that) can still kick the back of your child-molesting seat.

    Therefore, you are going to have to deal with whiny kids no matter what, and on top of that, you are presumed to be dangerous to them. Flying stinks. Furthermore, I am far more prone to sympathize with kids, even ones who misbehave. I myself am sick of the “children are to be seen and not heard” culture. I find it horribly damaging.

    A misbehaving child who is engaged by a father figure gets a wonderful opportunity to learn, and hence, to deeply resent chauvinist policies like that of New Zealand Hysterical Soccer Mom Airlines.

  • Paul Elam

    I hate to say this out loud and all, because I know how it can be interpreted by the likes of ANZ, but I actually like kids.

    I am not particularly fond of them when they are under the care of parents who ignore them and have learned to tune out their noise making, leaving the world around them to absorb their behavior. But that is really saying more about their parents, whom I would often like to murder (figuratively).

    Kids, though, are entertaining, generally honest, and a good bit more interesting than most of the adults I meet in my life.

    I don’t view them as something to be tolerated or put up with. Again, I save that judgement for adults.

    I also think it is important to point out that the policy of ANZ is not putting women int the role of baby sitter. They are not expected to entertain or tolerate the children any more than other passengers. They are asked to sit there as a barrier between the children and the men who will surely cornhole them mid flight were it not for such a policy.

  • John Kimble

    I’d actually commend Air New Zeland for being relatively open about their misandry.

    Despite multiple attempts I can’t even get Qantas to admit in writing to what they do. They talk about a policy that has been developed “honestly and in good faith” and how they accept that groups have “divergent views on this matter”. However they wont’ actually state what their policy is, and refuse to answer questions about it and just keep sending a standard meaningless statement.

    I’ve tried phoning the company and most employees there aren’t even aware of what they do. Therefore I think a more pressing and important challenge is to try to get Qantas to admit to what they do as their hatred of men is very well hidden at the moment.

  • Anti Idiocy

    I’ve heard that United Airlines has the same hateful policy as ANZ. Not sure if it’s true. Anybody know?

  • hestia

    What a disappointing response.

    I hate to say this out loud and all, because I know how it can be interpreted by the likes of ANZ, but I actually like kids.
    It’s so sad that we live in a world where you even feel the need to be concerned about such a statement. It’s one of those statements many women take for granted as coming from a woman such words wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.

  • Wayne

    I contacted Qantas in January of this year (2010) with the results……..
    “I’ve just called Quantas (NZ. 0800 808 767) who advised me that unaccompanied children are seated separately and screened off from ALL other adults. The operator told me, after checking, that they do not have a policy that prevents unaccompanied children from sitting next to Men but rather they prevent them sitting next to ALL other adults.”
    ……. which is the information I’ve placed on the Airline Discrimination Table:

    I created the soMENi Bigoted Airlines – Airline Discrimination Table in response to a thread created by Julie at in January 2010. My username in that discussion is SickofNZ.

    I spoke with Julie a few days ago and she reckons that Air NZ have changed their policy since the posting of her thread back in January of 2010. It seems that the response to Paul from Air NZ confirms that change of policy albeit to one of misandry by stealth.
    I’ll research further in to the claims that Qantas also operate a misandry by stealth policy and if so, I’ll make some edits to the Airline Discrimination Table.

  • Keyster

    “I am not particularly fond of them when they are under the care of parents who ignore them…”

    Yes, THOSE kids and the parents that believe in the “just let kids be kids” theory of “free parenting”. No discipline, no boundries, no manners…and typically limited male leadership of the family. This dynamic tends to be more the norm.

  • 4thtroika

    Between stuff like this and the airport scanners, I won’t be flying the not – so – friendly skies anytime soon if I can help it. Got back from a very pleasant trip up to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving yesterday afternoon (it’s early Saturday as I type this). Just me and the open road. I actually prefer it.

  • B. R. Merrick

    I prefer the open road, too, 4thtroika. My timetable, privacy, scenery, blast something by Stravinsky on my stereo, etc. I feel like a man behind the wheel.

    On an airplane, I’m little more than a sitting duck on the timetable of corporate asswipes. And this long after 9/11, they’re still not all that concerned about protecting you.

  • Tasha

    Wasn’t there something a few months ago about British Airways having the same policy? I swear I remember going to the website of another airline and looking for their policy of the same thing.

    Does anyone else recall this?

  • John Kimble

    Wayne that table is brilliant, would be good if even more airlines were listed though

    What really need to happen is that we email those airlines and ask them what their reaction is to their policy now being officially declared illegal in the UK as a result of the BA Mirko Fischer case.

    If you want proof of Qantas having the sexist policy just read this article on that case and note they are defending such a policy:

  • John Kimble

    As i understand it the Air NZ is less sexist than some others and changed due to complaints. Before it was a total ban on men sitting next to unaccompanied minors. Now the preference is that these children are seated next to airline staff, and if not that then next to females. Sitting next to men is allowed but they are deemed to be the last resort option.

    better than a total ban I suppose.

  • Edmond

    Just to let you known, British Airways, has the same man hating policy.
    I was sitting next to an unaccompanied child and was told to change my seat. I felt embarrassed and anger, but did not want to cause a scandal next to the child.
    Please boycott these scum airlines:
    British Airways
    United Airlines

  • John Kimble

    No, the BA policy was ruled to be illegal. They no longer have the policy.

  • Wayne

    @ John Kimble: Thanks for that information. I’ve read the news article that you provided the link for and have copied the relevant paragraphs below:
    In 2005 it emerged that Australian carrier Qantas and Air New Zealand had similar policies to British Airways.

    Qantas defended the policy and said it “reflected parents’ concerns” while Air New Zealand said no specific policy was in place but it did prefer seating unaccompanied children next to female travellers.

    It is not known whether either airline will make any changes in light of BA’s decision.
    I can’t tell from this information whether they are referencing old 2005 information or whether they are referring to up-to-date information. It is very ambiguous. I’ll make a point of looking further in to the Qantas policy though.

  • kiwihelen

    As a woman I object to the ANZ policy.

    I object that just because fate has given me ovaries instead of testes I am supposed to sit next to someone else’s progeny.

  • !!SPARTA!!

    “I object that just because fate has given me ovaries instead of testes I am supposed to sit next to someone else’s progeny.”

    Even if it means protecting them from threats to society like me?
    where’s your sense of public duty?
    Why not do your part to ensure a safe journey for children; free from molestation and raping from the genetically inferior men?
    How selfish of you!

    :once again, I must point out that I’m not serious even though I laid the sarcasm on pretty thick, unfortunately, there are people who unable to see it for what it is:

  • !!SPARTA!!

    Hey, Mr.Elam
    could you make, like a list of codes for the smilies?
    Thank you!

  • Paul Elam

    @ Kiwihelen

    Did you write ANZ to voice that objection?

  • !!SPARTA!!

    I’d appreciate the support in ridding of the policy, but not the reason for the support
    I mean…what would you rather be the reason for their removal of this policy?

    1) Because it inconveniences women?
    2) because it was sexist and prejudges men to be child molester/rapist/pedophiles

    I’d rather #1 not be included in their decision as it is female centered.
    The Idea of oppressing men and treating us like shit and doing nothing until women are “Inconvenienced” isn’t good enough. In fact, it’s pretty insulting to value the inconvenience of women over the blatant sexism and discrimination of men.
    Fuck that, you can take your “objection to inconvenience” and shove it!

  • !!SPARTA!!

    You know what?
    sry, Ms.Helen
    I didn’t mean to be harsh
    but it did kind of get under my skin for a bit
    I hope you would send an objection as it may help further our cause
    or don’t if you aren’t inclined to do so.