Arab nations have Muslim cultures that are so vastly different from the west, particularly with respect to their women. The culture is largely determined by the degree of the Sharia Law, the legal framework of the Islam faith that covers how a believer must behave in public. Through centuries, it has strictly defined the Islamic moral codes, especially for their women.
Thus, it is totally understandable why a man would be indignant if he sees his wife (or daughters) sitting beside men who are total strangers. Is this the reason why the passengers of Saudi Arabia’s national carrier Saudia, is planning to separate them by gender? If you are intrigued or you would be affected by the “supposed” gender segregation, read “Saudi Airline Denies Gender Split on Flights” written by Lizzie Porter for Telegraph -Travel News.
But, Saudia is denying claims that it is resorting to the separation of the females from the male passengers on flights. What precipitated this rumor?
“The denial follows widely reported claims that Saudia, the flag carrier, had received complaints from male passengers unhappy about other males sitting next to their wives and other female family members, and a reported complaint about a flight attendant being too ‘flirty’.
Another flier had, according to Saudia, pointed out that the issue of seat arrangement for families needing looking at, as his flight was delayed by 15 minutes because of it.
In response, Mr Abdul Rahman Al-Fahd, Saudia’s vice-president for marketing, said: “We have introduced some solutions this week and we are awaiting its result.”
But the airline said that this was then “wrongly interpreted” by some Arab and foreign media as plans to introduce gender segregation.”
To date, there is no airline yet in the world that ever does gender segregation of passengers. There are, however, airlines such as Iran Air, Iran’s national carrier, which requires women to don their hijab while on the flight. If it is true that Saudia is going ahead with gender split, it will be the first. In its official statement, the airline immediately and vehemently denied that Saudia ever said anything about making any gender splitting among the passengers.
What the airline has just introduced is the option called “family seating.” This kind of seating arrangement can be made in advance on all international flights except those flights bound to or coming from the Kingdom, Asia and the Middle East. Even Guest Class passengers have the option to select their desired seats on Saudia’s travels to USA, Europe, Africa, the Gulf Region and the Middle East; they just need to make the reservation and seat selection in advance.
Muslim passengers are not only assured there is no gender splitting among passengers on Saudia flights, the airline even vows to keep the tenets of Islam – recitation of a verse from Quran before departure and no serving or pork products or alcohol on board. Muslim families with women members flying anytime soon can always seat together if they make an early booking. This way, husbands need not ask the question: Who’s sitting beside my wife?