BA Changes Seat Policy That ‘Humiliated’ Hedgie

Aug 27 2010 | 10:26am ET

British Airways has changed a policy that led to a lawsuit filed by a hedge fund manager accusing it of humiliating him.

The airline did away with a rule barring male passengers from sitting next to unattended children that they do not know—even if the child’s parents or guardians are also on the flight. BA now said that the seating of unattended children will be handled in a “safe but non-discriminatory manner” by creating, on some flights, an unaccompanied minors zone within a short distance of the cabin crew in the galley.

The rule led to an ugly incident involving Luxembourg hedge fund manager Mirko Fischer, who was traveling on BA with his pregnant wife. Fischer was asked to leave a middle seat, next to his wife, because an unaccompanied 12-year-old was sitting in the aisle seat. Fischer sued, saying the request made him “feel like a criminal in front of other passengers.”

BA has since settled his lawsuit, apologizing and agreeing to pay him £2,161 in costs and £750 in damages.

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