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Virgin review after 'pedophile' complaint


Virgin Australia is rethinking its unaccompanied minors policy after a passenger claimed the airline treated him like a pedophile.

Johnny McGirr, a 33-year-old NSW firefighter, said he felt ashamed when a flight attendant asked him to move seats because men are banned from sitting next to unaccompanied children.

Two boys, who he estimated were under the age of 10, had been seated in his row on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney, forcing him to switch seats with a woman, he said on Friday.

"I was so embarrassed," Mr McGirr told ABC radio in Brisbane.

"My issue is that as men we can be policemen, and firemen, and teachers, and doctors and people that are trustworthy, but it seems that nowadays we're just assumed to be pedophiles or people who commit these crimes."

The incident happened back in April, but it ignited debate on social media when Mr McGirr wrote about it this week on a blog.

Virgin confirmed its policy of banning men but not women from sitting next to unaccompanied minors but said on Friday that the policy was now under review.

"Our intention is certainly not to discriminate in any way," the airline said in a statement.

A company spokesman said it was too early to say what the review will consist of or how long it will take.

All airlines have policies for dealing with unaccompanied children, but it not known how many of them ban men from sitting next to them.