A British TV host criticized an airline for operating a seating plan that could be “disaster” and potentially expose children to “perverts”.
A British TV host and journalist has gone wild on Japan Airways for its seat selection system, where passengers can choose how far away they sit from an infant for the duration of a flight.
The system, which launched in 2019, is essentially an online booking tool that shows where children under two will be seated. This means that other passengers can choose to sit further away from a child if they wish.
But, appearing on the breakfast TV show This morning, TV presenter Matthew Wright said the system, while convenient for some travelers, could be abused by “perverts.”
Discussing the reservation system on the breakfast TV show, co-host Holly Willoughby said the carrier identified the reservation system as the “perfect solution” for travelers who prefer to avoid sitting near young children by pointing out which places have been reserved by them.
Mr. Wright quickly retaliated, “Do you see a problem? I can see a problem.
“Let’s say you’re a pervert and want to spend 12 hours talking with kids,” he explained.
“You want to spend 12 hours on a long-haul flight, talk to a child, you can go on Japanese airlines, find out where the child is, book a seat next to them. It is an absolute disaster. A disaster.”
With Willoughby’s co-host Phillip Schofield, many viewers were shocked by Wright’s remarks simply because their minds “didn’t go.”
“For the kids on an airplane story, Matthew isn’t wrong, but I can’t say that’s where I thought,” one person wrote on Twitter.
“Matthew, it was pretty extreme but true,” added a second.
“When Matthew went in there with the ‘perverted’ comment, I was like, oh my god that’s actually true,” agreed another.
“Very worrying! Well done! Matthew to point out the airline’s faults.
The airline announced the idea of the “baby card” in 2019, but said that despite the fact that passengers could select seats further away from the baby icon on the card, the feature could not guarantee that the passengers would be out of earshot of a crying baby.
The airline also warned that the baby icon would not appear if passengers booked their flight through a third party or were part of a tour group, or if there was a change of last-minute plane, the airline’s website said.
At the time, the idea for the airline drew praise from social media users.
“Thanks for letting me know where babies plan to scream and scream during a 13 hour trip,” one person tweeted.
“It really should be mandatory at all levels. “