A Saudi Arabia Airlines flight from Jeddah to the eastern city of Dammam was delayed over a passenger's demand that a stewardess be removed from the aircraft because she wasn't accompanied by a male guardian, Arabian Business has reported, citing Okaz newspaper.
Flight 1108 was delayed when a stewardess began to demonstrate flight safety procedures, and was interrupted by a passenger who asked her "why are you on the plane without a guardian". The passenger then proceeded to demand the plane not take off until all women unaccompanied by male guardians be removed from the aircraft.
The captain called security who then forcefully removed the objecting passenger and his son and started an investigation. The incident caused the flight to be delayed two hours.
Every woman in Saudi Arabia must have a male guardian accompanying her when travelling, usually a husband or father, sometimes a son. Women in the kingdom need the consent of a male guardian to work, travel abroad, marry or to open a bank account.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who has tried to accelerate the pace of reform in the kingdom, announced in 2011 that women would be able to vote and run in municipal elections starting in 2015. Last month, the monarch appointed 30 women to the 150-member Shoura Council which was previously an all male body that advises the government on legislation.