Apparently the airlines haven't made themselves unpopular enough with long layovers, rising ticket prices, and nickel-and-diming us for things like ordering soda and carrying on an extra bag. They're now imposing a gloriously stupid policy of not allowing adult men to sit with unaccompanied minors. Both Quantas and Virgin have recently required adult males to switch seats with women so that they wouldn't be sitting with young children that are flying alone.
It's hard to decide whether this policy is stupid or assinine, so now I have to invent a new word for it which we shall call "stupinine". Feel free to use it, I claim no copyright. Here's why the policy is stupinine:
1) The policy is meant to allay the concerns of parents who send their kids on flights alone and who dont' want these kids sitting with strange men, because molestation obviously. So these parents care so much about their kids that they're willing to make these requests, but not enough to oh I don't know NOT LET YOUR LITTLE MONSTERS FLY ALONE??? Sorry but you just failed the parenting Olympics, your booby prize is decades of therapy for your kid.
2) I'm not a child molester (and never thought I'd have to actually write that but this is the society we live in) but I cannot imagine a worse place to try and molest a strange kid. Once you're in the air, it's not like there's anywhere to escape, and you have hundreds of people around in an enclosed space. If there's one place I'd feel like my kid couldn't get molested, it'd be an airplane at 40,000 feet.
3) Last I checked, women are just as capable of molesting kids as men. Is it somehow less traumatizing to be molested by a woman?
4) If the airlines are just trying to adhere to the irrational fears of the parents who send their kids on the flight alone, then consider how this would sound: "Excuse me sir, but would you mind changing your seat with a white person? The parents of the kids sitting next to you aren't comfortable with their precious snowflakes sitting next to a black man." If you're okay with that, then at least you're being consistent, Hitler.
5) I'll admit though, that if this happened to me and the airline did it discretely and moved me to a nice window seat and gave me free stuff (cookies, beer) I'd probably be happy not to have to sit next to someone else's unaccompanied monsters. But there's still something disturbing about this natural assumption that strange men are just looking for an excuse to molest random kids. How is it any different from an assumption that black people are just looking to mug you?