‘Sexist much?’ Kids’ stickers spark outrage
THEY are an innocent pair of stickers intended to be a fun accessory for children during their flight.
But these stickers, distributed by UK travel operator TUI to their young flyers, have landed in centre of a sexism controversy.
Passenger Dame Gillian Morgan, 65, a former senior Welsh government official, was on a flight from Bristol, in the United Kingdom to Paphos, Cyprus, when she saw flight attendants handing out the stickers to children on board.
The stickers came in two varieties, with one bearing the words "future captain" and on the other, "future cabin crew".
Dame Gillian said it upset her to see boys were being handed the "captain" stickers while the "cabin crew" stickers went to girls.
She told UK's Metro she was "absolutely sure" the stickers were handed out according to gender.
"The stickers were gender neutral but it's the way that they were handed out that makes it complicated," she said.
"I was with my great-niece and my great-nephew and of the two of them, she's going to be the pilot, he's going to be the cabin crew.
"I just think it's a shame. TUI were trying, I think, to do the right thing but fundamentally missed the point. There must have been a way of doing it with a bit more thought. I was quite upset by it really."
Dame Gillian wasn't the only person to have noticed an apparent pattern in the distribution of the stickers.
"@TUIUK your cabin crew today chose 'future tui cabin crew' stickers for the girls and 'future pilot' for the boys, no female pilots then?" one person said on Twitter.
Another tweeted: "Lovely touch by @TUIUK flying out of Corfu Friday by giving children TUI stickers and activity sheet … not so lovely that all the boys were given 'future pilot' stickers and the girls 'future cabin crew'?! Sexist much?"
Other parents said they had a different experience, with their children able to choose the sticker they preferred.
In light of the backlash, however, TUI apologised for the offence caused.
"We're sorry to hear a small number of customers have been upset by this," the company said in a statement.
"We think it has just been a simple mix-up since our future pilot and cabin crew stickers are designed for use for any child regardless of gender.
"The stickers are part of our activity packs which are intended to be used by crew to interact, engage with and create special moments for our customers on their holiday."
The company said the feedback it has received from passengers had been "overwhelmingly positive".
"Children fall in love with flying when they go on their holidays with us and we want to encourage their dreams of becoming future pilots and crew members," it added.