I APPLAUD your policy and I respectfully beg you not to change it.
I love men, adore my husband.
Before he met me, and learned how childhood sexual assault affected my life, and, in turn, his life, my partner would have been outraged at this policy and calling for his right to sit where he wanted on a plane, just like this fireman.
From direct experience of what even 'a little touch-up' can do to a child, he has done a complete one eighty in his thinking.
My husband now understands completely that a few men who commit sexual assault on children have made things very difficult for all men.
BUT he's prepared to live with any inconvenience and embarrassment if it means some child, somewhere escapes sexual assault.
So that fireman felt some embarrassment and discomfort and was put out. That is regrettable.
As a person who has lived with the consequences EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE from childhood sexual assault, I can assure you I've experienced WAY MORE discomfort and embarrassment than this man.
When someone does this to you, you feel permanently marked with a dirty, visible stain, because children will tend to believe that THEY have done something wrong, not the adult assaulting them.
This man has a career, I ended up on a disability pension for post traumatic stress as a direct result of childhood sexual assault.
The first time I came across this policy of Virgin Airlines a while back, I was really taken aback. I thought, jeez how unusual that a company is actually taking a child's wellbeing into account. It felt really good and I believed it to be a sign of people waking up to the reality that this stuff DOES go on....
And I can guarantee it has happened on a plane to an unaccompanied minor at least once already.
If this policy is revoked it will show that we as a society are not yet ready to put children's wellbeing ahead of our own feelings.
All I can hope for is that this public outcry serves to educate a few people.