Barcelona’s first mixed-sex football club is facing criticism after the men of the team flew business class, while the women flew economy in a plane headed to the United States.
Fans of the team were the ones to spot the separation in class seating, pointing out via Twitter how unfair it is that women with more seniority than some of the men on the team were sitting in economy. These fans suggested that the solution to not having enough seating in business class was simple: players (men or women) who have the most seniority sit up front, while everyone else flies economy.
Since the separation has been noticed by fans, the women players have taken the time to defend their club. One player, Alexia Putellas, explained to a Portland news outlet that the reason the women flew economy was because they were added to the tour at the last second, leaving management with no choice but to assign economy seats to the women, since the men had already taken up the business class.
“The club made an effort to organise everything practically at the last minute… I wish we would always travel like this, in these conditions,” Putellas told reporters after the team’s first training session in the United States.
While the women were quick to defend their team, the division of men and women between flight classes has been an issue of sexism for years.
This 2016 Telegraph article details the matter of some husbands flying in the business class while their wives, and sometimes their children, fly economy on the same flight. One woman named Tina discussed her and her husband’s separation on flights, saying, “It really used to bother me – did he think his comfort was more important than mine? What did it say about how much he respected me? I’ve got used to it, though.”
Additionally, working women account for about 30 percent of business travellers in the United States, while working men are usually the ones found flying in business or coach. On top of this, women are more concerned with the costs of their business travel, while the biggest worry of men is the waiting time at check-in.
The women of FC Barcelona were not hurt over the need for them to fly economy to the United States, although the incident is certainly embarrassing for the football club. The club defended itself by stating that it had purchased two to three economy seats for every woman on the team so they could have more space and comfort.
The women’s team returned from their tour in the United States to Barcelona on July 29th. This time, the club ensured that each woman would be flying business class.
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