Happened to watch Yuttadhammo's video on Life in a day project and also understood that Monks are not allowed to stay in a place with a woman. Was wondering how do they actually travel by air in a confined space for hours,worst case if they were assigned to be seated next to a female?
The Bhikkhus' Rules - A Guide for Laypeople says that the "spirit of the rule" is important:
FAQ 4: "It is mentioned in the Vinaya rules that a monk is not allowed to reside under the same roof with a woman. How does that apply to multistoried (condominiums, flats, apartments) and multi-compartment buildings (terrace houses), where the flats, terrace houses, share one roof?"
A: This has become a complex question with various interpretations because of modern conditions. The spirit of the rule is very important — avoiding possibilities of intimacy — while the interpretation will depend on the monk and the circumstances. In countries without proper monasteries there will always have to be something of a compromise. (See Staying Together for a discussion of this.)
This is clearer if you read the previous 3 FAQs, for example,
FAQ 3: "What is the rule if an eight-precepter unintentionally comes into [direct physical] contact with another lay person or eight-precepter or ten-precepter or monk or nun of opposite gender?"
A: As with the preceding cases with bhikkhus, there is no fault if there is no wrong intention.