Airline slammed for suggesting only boys can be pilots

UK based airline TUI has come under fire from passengers and social media users after their marketing campaign aimed at children was labelled "deeply sexist".

The airline was handing out activity packs to children and according to passengers onboard, were giving stickers saying "Future TUI Captain" to boys, while girls were given ones that said "Future TUI Cabin Crew".

Dame Gillian Morgan, a doctor and scientist, said she was on the flight and was "absolutely sure" the stickers were being given out according to each child's gender.

She told that gender stereotyping happens implicitly all the time.

"The boys can have the Lego, the space rocket going to the moon, and the girls can have a little pony. We desperately need more women to do science, maths and engineering but little things like this take us backwards by providing restricting roles."

A mother travelling with her children tweeted the airline in disgust.

"Lovely touch by @TUIUK flying out to Corfu Friday by giving children TUI stickers and activity sheet... not so lovely that all the boys were given "future pilot" stickers and the girls "future cabin crew"?! Sexist much?

"I tell my daughter she can have any job she wants, without boundaries, as long as she works hard enough. I feel that this undermines that," she added.

The incident comes at a time when other airlines are attempting ensure more females get jobs in the cockpit.

Earlier this year, Virgin Australia set a 50/50 gender target for its pilot cadet scheme. Virgin said only three percent of pilots worldwide were female.

TUI has downplayed the incident, claiming only a "small number" of passengers were upset.

"We think it has just been a simple mix-up since our future pilot and cabin crew stickers are designed for use for any child, regardless of gender," the company said in a press release.

"The stickers are part of our activity packs which are intended to be used by crew to interact, engage with and create special moments for our customers on their holiday." 

TUI also claimed feedback on the activity packs had been "overwhelmingly positive".