By Anusha Bhagat
According to the Global Business Travel Association, India is likely to become the world’s sixth-largest business travel market by 2019. However, many countries like the US, UK, and Australia caution their women passengers from travelling solo in Indian public transport. They cite eve-teasing, safety, and harassment as major concerns.
India has developed an international reputation for being unsafe for women, following the series of rapes and other attacks against women in the country in recent years.
A one-of-its-kind move
To improve this situation, Vistara has launched its new Woman Flyer Service. In this one-of-its-kind move, the airline will help women fly solo with their luggage, escort them to and from the ground transportation, and give them preferred window and aisle seats on their flights.
A report by Bloomberg reported that the New Delhi based airline says that between 75 and 100 women use the complimentary service each day. It is believed to be the first airline to offer such a service. The report also states that Sanjiv Kapoor, Vistara’s chief strategy and commercial officer, said that the airline began offering this after noticing women seeking help after their planes had landed.
“Our staff is equipped to help women travelling alone with the booking of airport-authorized taxis, as well as escort them to the airport taxi stand upon their request,” Kapoor said. “This service is a sincere effort to ensure peace of mind of our women customers.”
#VistaraWomanFlyer was launched on Women’s Day earlier this year. Their website says, “Our customers can pre-select their preferred seats during booking, after booking through the ‘manage my booking’ feature, as well as during web check-in.”
The website continues by stating, “Even if the woman traveller has not preselected a preferred seat in advance, we will ensure only a window or aisle seat is assigned at check-in. In addition, uniformed Vistara staff will be available at the baggage claim area holding #VistaraWomanFlyer Arrivals Assistance placards, to assist women travellers with their luggage and with the booking of airport-authorized taxis, as well as escort such customers up to the taxi stand upon their request.”
The airline will be extending the service to its international flights once it expands its operations beyond India. However, a launch date is yet to be made public. This initiative by Vistara can be seen as a harbinger of positive change for solo women travellers. It is also a significant step towards restoring the image of India as a safe country for women. It may only be a matter of time before this move instigates other carriers to come up with actions of their own to better the travelling experience for solo women.
Featured Image Source: Visual Hunt
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