Bizarre! Air India to launch women-only seating

Air India keeps coming up with all sorts of innovative ways of staying in the news, and their newest one is no less. Their CMD, Ashwani Lohani, seems to have picked up one of the facilities from his Indian Railways days’ playbook, and decided to implement it up in the air.

a group of people standing next to a plane

Tomorrow, Air India will announce a decision to block 6 seats on all their narrow-body planes (one row) for women travelling alone. The facility will be available from January 18, 2017 onwards, and will be free of cost. The only qualification, you need to be a woman, and booked to travel alone (i.e., only passenger on the reservation). The seats will be blocked in the third row of the economy section of the plane.

I’m not sure at the moment if the facility will be provided on international flights as well or just domestic planes, but this is another one of those moves from Air India I do not support. Rationale? Reservation is no good till it is implemented very well, and this sort of policing is really not required. Just like the Indigo child-free zones are not required on flights.

Air India’s rationale is that separating women on the third row will save these passengers from harassment, but for that, they need to have fitter crew in the airline who can restrain such unruly passengers and not implement such useless rules. What about all the other women travelling on the same plane who are not in Row 3? And what about when Row 3 fills up and more people want these reserved rows?

Stay Classy, Air India, Stay Classy! Focus on things that matter, such as having a good passenger experience and not broken planes.

Do you guys think this is a wise idea which will be implemented well? Or is this just another smokescreen from Air India which will go away quietly at some point of time?

About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

More articles by Ajay »


  1. Actually this is a good move from AI. If they get a few more loyal female customers without any additional investment… then why not?

    There are some ladies who are more comfortable in reserved be it.

    Agree with Ajay that they should focus on improving overall flying expirience as their soft product needs a lot of catching up with private airlines. Till then such small measures will help them win a little more female travellers.

  2. I recently flew Air india in business class. I was seated jext to a man. The man made a HUGE stink anout being seated next to a single female. The crew reseated me because the family would NOT let it go and demanded I was placed elsewhere. I should note I am American and the family was Indian. Not that is should make a difference, but it does. I would take female only seating to avoid such a nighmare again, but cant thank Air India crew enough for helping me

  3. Why is this bizarre? The crew does not need to be fit to restrain passengers who are groping or feeling up women or making lewd statements. It is a passenger-friendly policy that will make some women feel more at ease.

    In case you haven’t noticed there is an apparent epidemic of rape in India. At the minimum, men have no problem acting lewdly towards women in public there. Women are afraid and concerned and this policy is a small gesture to make sense me feel safer.

    This post makes you sound like a callous and insensitive jerk. Seriously, are you not aware of what women in India live through and fear on a daily basis? Ask one of them sometime. What they say may surprise you.

    • @Don clearly your perception is a perception that you have of people not living here. I am an Indian just in case you did not know, and I live in India, which you refer to as (there). Come and be here for a while, and then we can have this conversation. Thank you for your views.

    • @Don When you say that there is epidemic of rape in India, you may want to refresh your knowledge; The US stands at the first position in the race of rapes followed by South Africa & Sweden.

      But that’s not the point here. The point is that by creating boundaries around women you make them more vulnerable. And I am a Indian woman who has lived and worked across multiple cities in India, Europe, US and Africa.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *