Domestic carrier Vistara has rolled out the Woman Flyer program, created to protect female fliers from predatory seatmates and make them feel safe during their flight. Incidents of sexual assaults in India, particularly on public transport, have sparked concern amongst locals and visitors alike over the last few years, prompting many a foreign office to issue travel advisories. The US State Department warns against women traveling solo in India, and the use of public transport after dark without the company of trusted companions.
Vistara’s Women Flyer program gives women traveling alone preferred seating, so that they won’t be caught in the middle seat, sandwiched between two men on a flight. It’s a move that follows Air India, which now reserves a few rows of seats for female passengers traveling solo. The designation follows in-flight incidents in which women alleged they had been groped by male travelers.
“The heights that women around the world have scaled needs no validation,” said Vistara spokeswoman Deepa Chadha in a statement. “Women are a major force that makes economies stronger and societies healthier.”
The Vistara service also includes baggage and transportation assistance on arrival for women traveling alone.