Saturday, October 13, 2012

When Is A Woman REALLY Pregnant?

"The only time it's appropriate to assume a woman is pregnant is when there's a head dangling out between her legs."
Such insightful Facebook comments followed a 'mortifying', 'outrageous', 'shocking' and 'unprofessional' Jetstar incident this week: a Jetstar flight attendant demanded (TVNZ's choice of word: perhaps he requested...?) a 'pregnancy' medical certificate from passenger Kelsey Hughes... despite her not expecting a baby. Well, the media had a field day!
TV3 News: shocking; TVNZ News: outrageous;
Southland Times: pregnancy query mortifies;
Canberra Times: unprofessional
In the face of this public outcry, Jetstar apologised and gave Kelsey a $100 voucher for future flights...but she says all she wants is an apology from the flight attendant concerned. However if the tsunami of indignation could subside for a brief mo, we may be able to look at
Kelsey: really NOT...
this calmly...
The attendant was doing his job. Seems more tact and discretion was needed in his approach (with an immediate apology following the mistake)... but he WAS following his employer's rules.
[Jetstar policy states passengers more than 28wks pregnant are required to carry a letter from a doctor or midwife declaring them fit to fly, and crew are expected to request a medical certificate if they have reason to believe a passenger is pregnant.]
Stunning fact: your average guy is not the greatest judge of a woman's 'condition' - perhaps when working around skinny flight attendants all day, one's judgement is impaired to the point where a 'standard koiwoi shoila' may seem preggers.
You may also not know that back in 2008, a baby was stillborn at 34wks on a Brisbane-Auckland Air NZ flight. To witness THAT in-flight may well have been 'shocking', 'mortifying' etc! So most airlines advise 36wks as the safe cut-off point for boarding a plane pregnant.
Sarah: REALLY...
In Aug.2012, at 35wks, Sarah Clear was escorted off a Jetstar plane: she'd flown into Auckland, unknowingly breaching Jetstar's pregnancy policy - but no staff member raised any concerns. When she boarded for her return flight, crew removed her. On that occasion, in the initial instance someone had NOT done their job properly, thus making Sarah's removal seem bad.
The root cause seems to be a lack of communication. Surely back at the ticketing stage, the pregnancy question could be asked by the booking agent, or added as a compulsory-answer box for on-line bookings. This would avoid embarrassment for all.
A pregnant flier should expect to be asked for her certificate.
She should also expect the question to be asked with tact.
But the airline system should flash a 'request certificate' warning to the crew as well, rather than simply rely on a mere male's eyeball.
And as for that fluppunt und rully untullugunt Facebook comment?
To the oh-so-worldly-wise writer, I say:
Duuuh!! That's not being pregnant, ya prat - that's actual childbirth!

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