One of Europe’s largest airlines has advised its crew to make cabin announcements more inclusive.
EasyJet, a low-cost British carrier, will now avoid “ladies and gentlemen” when addressing passengers, CNN reports.
“We want our crew to be welcoming to everyone on board, so have provided some guidance to them on how best to do that in a way that is inclusive for everyone,” says an EasyJet spokesperson, who clarifies that no greeting has been officially banned.
Dear @easyJet, are you in some kind of competition to see how many times you can reinforce gender binaries? “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls”, perfume strictly segrated again by “ladies and gentlemen”. Ditch sir/madam too. An organisation as huge as yours must do better.
— Andi (they/them) (@InductiveStep) August 29, 2019
“Addressing a group of people with gender-neutral language is a really simple and positive way to make sure everyone feels welcome and included,” says U.K. LGBTQ advocacy group Stonewall in a statement.
Dr. Andi Fugard, a senior lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London, complained to EasyJet in August. “Are you in some kind of competition to see how many times you can reinforce gender binaries?” tweeted Fugard, who identifies as trans and nonbinary. “’Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,’ perfume strictly segregated again by ’ladies and gentlemen.’ Ditch sir/madam too. An organisation as huge as yours must do better.”
Acknowledging the customer complaint as “something we’ll take on board and pass to the relevant teams,” an EasyJet representative publicly replied that company employees “do not discriminate against any individual—passengers or staff members,” and that they were “committed” to “diversity and inclusion.” The airline tells CNN, however, that its gender-neutral advisements are not a reaction to Fugard’s tweet.
The Sun, focusing on online backlash, reports that EasyJet’s pilots and cabin crew are now urged to say “welcome everyone.”
Air Canada similarly announced its plans to drop gendered salutations from in-flight greetings in October.
National Center for Trans Equality reports that 35% of trans people identify as nonbinary.