British Airways tells staff to refer to passengers as gender-neutral

British Airways tells pilots and cabin crew not to refer to passengers as ‘ladies and gentlemen’ in favour of gender-neutral terms to celebrate ‘diversity and inclusion’

  • British Airways has adopted more gender-neutral terms  to greet passengers
  • Other major airlines like easyJet have already adopted gender-neutral language
  • Japan Airlines used gender-neutral terms in 2020 for ‘positive atmosphere’ 

British Airways has instructed pilots and cabin crew not to refer to passengers as ‘ladies and gentlemen’ in an effort to celebrate ‘diversity and inclusion’.

Britain’s flagship carrier has abandoned the greeting in favour of more gender-neutral terms, reportedly to respect wider social norms and make children feel included. 

Other major airlines, including Lufthansa, easyJet and Air Canada, have already adopted gender-neutral language. 

A BA spokesman said: ‘We celebrate diversity and inclusion and we’re committed to ensuring that all our customers feel welcome when travelling with us’

Japan Airlines began using gender-neutral terms last year to ‘create a positive atmosphere and treat everyone… with respect’.

The Australian airline Qantas launched its ‘Spirit of Inclusion’ initiative in 2018 to encourage staff to refrain from using gender-specific terms, while US carrier Delta Air Lines is soon to start using such greetings during onboard announcements to create ‘a safe, comfortable and respectful space for all of our customers and employees’.

BA faced criticism this summer after axeing the drinks trolley and instead asking short-haul, economy-class flyers to pre-order or use an app – similar to those in Wetherspoon pubs – if they want a drink.

The airline said the move was to cut down on weight and food waste, but critics have complained that the lack of personal touch was an example of the nation’s flag carrier running down its services.

Britain’s flagship carrier has abandoned the greeting in favour of more gender-neutral terms

A BA spokesman said: ‘We celebrate diversity and inclusion and we’re committed to ensuring that all our customers feel welcome when travelling with us.’

Sir Martin Sorrell, founder of the advertising agency WPP, told The Sunday Telegraph that passengers are no longer bothered by the use of traditional greetings.

‘Whether that’s fortunate or unfortunate, it’s a sign of the times,’ he said.

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