Saudi Arabia’s national airline is allegedly planning to separate male and female passengers on its flights, in accordance to strict rules enforced by the Gulf kingdom.
Gulf media report that Saudia will keep men and women segregated onboard, unless they are close relatives.
The move follows a spate of complaints from male fliers unwilling to allow other males to sit next to their wives and other female family members.
Complaints were also recently made when male passengers claimed a flight attendant was being too ‘flirty’.
‘There are solutions to this problem…we will soon enforce rules that will satisfy all passengers,’ Saudia assistant manager for marketing Abdul Rahman Al Fahd, told Saudi daily, Ajel.
It is thought that the airline will include instructions to flight booking staff at Gulf airports to keep these new rules in place.
The carrier’s policies are already in tune to the strict Islamic practices of Saudi Arabia: no alcoholic beverages or pork dishes are served onboard, a prayer of verse from the Quran is read before take off, and many international flights have a designated men’s prayer area.
In addition, Saudia does not employ Saudi women as cabin crew, opting to recruit women from other countries such as Pakistan, the Philippines, Albania and Bosnia instead.
But moves are being made to employ females on the ground in November, the airline opened its fourth women’s section staffed by entirely by females at its office in the Murooj district of Saudi capital, Riyadh.
The country is known for its gender segregation, with women requiring a male guardian approval to travel or work outside of the home.
In public spaces such as restaurants, beaches, amusement parks or banks, women are required to enter and exit through special doors.
Women who are seen socialising with a man who is not a relative can even be charged with committing adultery, fornication or prostitution.
The majority of Gulf operated airlines abide by Islamic laws, but vary over strictness.
For example United Emirates carrier, Etihad’s new A380 aircraft includes a prayer area in Business class, but the new cabin crew uniform, launched last month, does not feature a veil.
Chief Commercial Officer, Peter Baumgartner, told MailOnline Travel: ‘Modern Arabia is what is going on in Abu Dhabi, we are inspired by what’s going on in the rest of the world, but through the lens of the local DNA.
SAUDI AIRLINE’S STRICT INFLIGHT RULES
There are no alcoholic beverages or pork dishes are served on board.
A prayer of verse from the Quran is read before take off, and many international flights have a designated men’s prayer area.
The airline does not employ Saudi women as cabin crew, opting to recruit women from other countries such as Pakistan, the Philippines, Albania and Bosnia instead.
Courtesy of the Daily Mail