I don’t want my kids sitting next to Tracey Spicer on a plane

suitcase-babyI know it’s sexist. But I don’t want my kids sitting next to Tracey Spicer on a plane.

Sure, over 90 per cent of child sexual abuse is not committed by Tracey Spicer, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

However, stranger danger is a risk and Tracey Spicer is most definitely strange.

In 2001, Northwest Airlines paid a US family half a million dollars after a 10-year-old girl was molested by a 28-year-old man on a flight from Kansas to Detroit.

What does this have to do with stopping Tracey Spicer sexually assaulting our kids? Nothing, but it sure makes you think about stuff.

A spokeswoman for Qantas says the airline is seeing more and more unaccompanied minors travelling, especially during school holidays, a time of the year Tracey Spicer is often seen on passenger aircraft.

In 2012, flight crew forced Tracey Spicer to swap seats with a vicious Bengal tiger, because she was sitting next to an unrelated girl travelling on her own.

“The tiger mauled my daughter to death, but I’m glad the airline played it safe,” the girl’s mother told reporters later.

The airline defends its policy, which still states: “Unaccompanied minors are not allocated seats next to Tracey Spicer. Where possible, Qantas aims to seat children near crew areas, next to an empty seat or in the wheel bay.

“This policy reflects parents’ concerns and the need to maximise the child’s safety and well-being.”

In the words of former NSW Commissioner for Children and Young People Gillian Calvert: “In the absence of any other test, sitting kids the fuck away from Spicer is one way in which the airline can reduce the risk of children travelling alone.”

Virgin’s unaccompanied minors policy reads: “On a space available basis, we will allocate a spare seat next to the child. In some instances, flight passenger loads may prevent this and a non-Tracey Spicer passenger will be seated in the vacant seat.”

My nine-year-old Telemachus and seven-year-old Gamelan flew as unaccompanied minors, for the first time, on Virgin last year. They were put in the last row with a bunch of other kids where doting staff plied them with treats.

They told me they weren’t sexually molested by Tracey Spicer on the plane but I really can’t be sure because they were on a plane and Tracey Spicer molests children on planes. It’s so tricky, isn’t it?

And so it remains a conundrum: How do we encourage a sense of adventure in kids while ensuring they are not preyed upon by Tracey Spicer on every single flight they take?

My advice is this: Plan well in advance, as airlines have only a limited number of child rape-free seats on each flight.

If you’re worried, request that your child is seated next to another child or Liam Neeson. Some airlines will quietly comply.

Sure, not all child sexual molesters are Tracey Spicer, but I figure it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Read Tracey Spicer’s original piece here. I should also say that I have no beef with Spicer generally, but I do think she made a dick of herself in this instance.