Menstuff® has compiled the following information on the
discrimation against men by Qantas Airlines.
Qantas may be Breaking Fedeal Law
Happy New Year. I sincerely appreciate your efforts in follow-up to my e-mail (sent last month) to Menstuff about Qantas Airways. I have since received an e-mail from Ms. Blane Workie, Chief, Aviation Civil Rights Compliance Branch, of the Aviation Enforcement Office, of the U.S. Department of Transportation, in response to an e-mail that I sent to her, also last month. Based upon Ms. Workie's reply (which I have pasted below, without salutation, in blue print), it seems very clear that Qantas's acknowledged policy of prohibiting men from sitting next to unaccompanied children on its flights (departing from or otherwise connecting with the United States) egregiously violates federal law. As cited by Ms. Workie in her reply e-mail, 49 U.S.C. § 40127 states that "an air carrier or foreign air carrier may not subject a person in air transportation to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or ancestry." (Emphasis added.) In order to challenge the Qantas policy, however, it may be necessary for an "aggrieved party" to submit a complaint. Hopefully, a Qantas male customer, subject to that policy, who flew (or perhaps, will fly) on Qantas in the United States will come forward and do so.
(Ms. Workie's 12/27/05 reply.)
Thank you for providing me additional information regarding the complained-of policy of Quantas Airways and Air New Zealand of not allowing unaccompanied minors to sit next to men. As we discussed, members of the public who feel they have been the subject of discriminatory actions or treatment by air carriers may file a complaint with our office, the U.S. Department of Transportations (DOT) Aviation Enforcement Office. Complaints should include the following: full name, address, telephone number including area code of complainant; name of the party who suffered the discriminatory conduct, if other than the person submitting the complaint; name of the airline involved in the incident; the flight date, flight number, origin and destination cities of the aggrieved partys trip; a detailed description of the incident; and a statement that the aggrieved party would like the matter to be investigated by our office. Complaint forms that consumers may download and/or print are also available at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/problems.htm .
Our office reviews, acknowledges and investigates each complaint alleging discrimination. As you may know, a number of Federal statutes administered by DOT specifically prohibit discrimination by airlines. The most specific and most recently adopted provision, 49 U.S.C. § 40127, states that an air carrier or foreign air carrier may not subject a person in air transportation to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or ancestry. That provision was enacted on April 5, 2000, in the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR-21).
Our office pursues cases based on complaints received. If our office, after investigation, finds an airline policy or procedure is not in compliance with the law, it would direct the carrier to change its policy or procedure, warn the carrier about potential enforcement action if similar complaints continue to be received, and recommend additional civil rights customer relations training for the employees involved, if appropriate. If this does not solve the problem, our office may issue a cease and desist order and assess civil penalties. However, we can only take such action through a mutually-agreed settlement of a case or after an adjudicatory proceeding -- an oral evidentiary hearing on the record before an administrative law judge from DOTs Office of Hearings, at which the airline may present evidence and cross-examine witnesses in order to defend itself, if it chooses to do so.
I hope the information provided is useful and you had a wonderful holiday.
Blane A. Workie, Chief, Aviation Civil Rights Compliance Branch,
Aviation Enforcement Office, 400 7th Street, SW, Room10100,
Washington, D.C. 20590 or Blane.Workie@dot.gov