Indian Airline Vistara Offers Special Seating and Services Just For Female Solo Travelers
Vacations for one are becoming more and more popular, as they allow solo travelers to be completely flexible with their plans and go wherever their mood, or the day, takes them. But in certain areas, one concern of going it alone — particularly for female solo travelers — is safety. And it’s a fact that has not been lost on the travel industry, as New Delhi-based airline Vistara has shown with its new #VistaraWomanFlyer service.
Launched in March in conjunction with International Women’s Day, Vistara — India’s fastest-growing full-service airline — announced it would be offering preferential services at no additional charge to women traveling by themselves in order to make them feel more at ease. Among the benefits offered are window or aisle seats only — read: no middle seats — plus additional assistance with baggage and transportation.
“Customers can pre-select seats during booking and after booking through the ‘manage my booking’ feature as well as during web check-in,” the company stated in a press release. “For those who do not pre-select their preferred seats in advance, Vistara will ensure only window or aisle seats are assigned to solo women travelers at check-in. In addition, uniformed Vistara staff will be available at the baggage claim area holding #VistaraWomanFlyer Arrivals Assistance placards to assist women travelers with their luggage and with the booking of airport-authorized taxis, as well as escort such customers up to the taxi stand upon request.” According to The Telegraph, the airline has not confirmed whether the employees assisting these travelers will also be female.
Though this door-to-door service is an industry first, Vistara is not the first airline to make special accommodations for female travelers. In January, Air India announced it would be designating certain rows on each of its flights as female-only — the country is also home to women-only trains and rickshaws. At China’s Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, there are women-only security checkpoints that are fully staffed by women.
These added security measures come in the wake of rising attacks and sexual harassment against women, including an acid attack on a 35-year-old mother who was staying at a women’s hostel in Lucknow, India, earlier this month. On its website, the US State Department even cautions that, “Travelers should be aware that there have been reported cases of sexual assault, including rape, of US citizens traveling throughout India. US citizens, particularly women, are cautioned not to travel alone in India. Women traveling in India are advised to respect local dress and customs. Customary everyday dress for Indian women throughout the country is conservative, and even more so in non-urban areas, with women wearing clothing that covers their legs and shoulders.”
For Sanjiv Kapoor, Vistara’s chief strategy and commercial officer, the #VistaraWomanFlyer service is just one more way to put female travelers’ minds at ease. “Our staff is equipped to help women traveling alone with the booking of airport-authorized taxis, as well as escort them to the airport taxi stand upon their request,” Kapoor told Bloomberg. “This service is a sincere effort to ensure peace of mind of our women customers.”
H/T: The Telegraph