British Airways has been forced to compensate a businessman after making him feel like a "child molester" by banning him from sitting next to a boy that he did not know.
Mirko Fischer ended up sitting next to the boy on the BA flight from London to Luxembourg when he switched seats with his pregnant wife, so she could be by the window.
Cabin crew however quickly intervened and told him to return to his original seat as company policy did not allow adult males to sit next to unaccompanied minors - the aviation industry term for children flying without a parent or guardian.
Mr Fischer, 35, told staff he believed the policy broke the Sex Discrimination Act. He later said he felt he had been treated as a potential "child molester".
The incident took place on a flight that Mr Fischer and his wife Stefanie took back home to Luxembourg on April 20 last year.
He said that the incident, which ended with him swapping back to his original seat, had left him feeling "embarrassed, humiliated and angry".
"There were no raised voices but we were in a public place and there were obviously people around us wondering what was happening," he said.
"They accuse you of being some kind of child molester just because you are sitting next to someone.
"It is no different from stopping men from being allowed to sit next to boys in a public place but where will this stop? Are supermarkets next?
"Children need to interact with both men and women."
He said that neither he nor his wife felt able to say a word to the boy for the whole journey, as they were worried about what might happen if they did.
After the flight he wrote to BA to complain. Although the airline apologised he was so angry that he decided to sue for "loss and damage of injury to his feelings".
He said he wanted BA to change its policy as "a matter of principle", because he thought it amounted to sex discrimination.
Now a consent order has been drawn up at Slough County Court, in which BA admitted sex discrimination in the case and agreed to pay him costs of £2,161 and £750 in damages.
Mr Fischer, a hedge fund manager, has donated the damages payout and £2,250 of his own money to Kidscape and Orphans in the Wild, two child protection charities.
BA has not admitted that the policy itself is discriminatory. However, a spokesman said it was under review. Mr Fischer said he hoped his case would set a precedent and make it easier for other men caught in such a predicament.
Airlines are free to set their own seating policies regarding unaccompanied minors. Virgin Atlantic said it did not have a similar policy and EasyJet said passengers were free to sit where they liked.
The BA spokesman stressed: "We had 75,000 unaccompanied children fly with us last year and it is an issue we take very seriously. We look after these children as we have been given this responsibility by their parents."
She added: "We are pleased to have settled this matter with Mr Fischer and are sorry for any difficulties caused."