Amsterdam CDA municipal council member Lex van Drooge was recently asked to move to a different seat on a KLM flight from Istanbul to Amsterdam, since the Muslim woman sitting next to him had objections about sitting next to a man.
The council member had been a work-trip to Istanbul together with a group of Amsterdam politicians. He says that at beginning of the trip back he was asked by a stewardess to move elsewhere in the plane. Later it turned out this request was from his original headscarf wearing neighbor.
Van Drooge says that apparently we don't know how to deal with these type of situations, which happily only happen occasionally.
The unusual request by the Muslim woman, who was traveling on her own and who did not say a word to Van Drooge, was not noticed by other passengers. The Amsterdam resident is surprised at how things developed, and has a "slight unpleasant feeling".
He says he naturally called around, and found that Turkish airplane companies haven't heard about different classes for men and women.
A spokesperson for KLM could not confirm the story, and said there is no specific policy regarding such cultural or religious inspired requests. But she says that the crew takes into account special requests of passengers. "If it's possible, than we do that, and if it's not possible, than not."
It's unclear why the woman was not moved to a different place. The KLM spokesperson says that that was also possible.
Source: Telegraaf (Dutch)