(WXYZ) - Some international airlines will force men to switch seats with a woman if they're sitting next to an unaccompanied child.
Johnny McGirr said he was seated next to two young boys on a Virgin Australia flight but was told he needed to move somewhere else because the children were not accompanied by their parents.
"As soon as I boarded it, I was a presumed pedophile," McGirr said.
It's Virgin's policy to make sure there are no empty seats or male passengers sitting next to children who are flying without their parents.
McGirr complained to the airline about how he felt.
"It was interesting, really ashamed, like I've done something wrong and embarrassed," said McGirr.
Virgin released a statement about the policy saying, "This has been a long standing policy that was based on customer feedback, and, in light of recent feedback, we are now reviewing the policy. Our intention is certainly not to discriminate in any way."
A similar situation happened to a man on a British Airlines flight a few years ago. He sued the airline for gender discrimination and won his lawsuit.
Currently, the Department of Transportation does not have a nationwide policy on men sitting next to unaccompanied children on flights. It is up to the individual airline to decide on its own seating policy.
Some child safety advocates support Virgin's seating policy.
"We're trying to prevent child victimization," said John Shehan, Executive Director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. "We know the overwhelming majority of sex offenders are male, so by removing that situation, you're lowering the risk."
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