Japan Airlines to use gender-neutral language on flights

Helen Coffey
·1-min read
Japan Airlines is embracing inclusive language (Getty Images)
Japan Airlines is embracing inclusive language (Getty Images)

Japan Airlines is the latest carrier to embrace gender-neutral language on flights.

The airline said it will be swapping “ladies and gentlemen” for more inclusive greetings, such as “good morning” and “good evening” from 1 October.

It will also use gender-neutral terms during airport announcements.

An airline spokesperson told AFP it “will abolish expressions that based on (two types of) sex and use gender-friendly expressions”.

Although the expressions used by the airline are already gender-neutral in Japanese, the mandate will apply to announcements made in other languages.

The move makes JAL the first Japanese carrier to adopt this more inclusive approach.

It follows in the footsteps of a number of other international airlines.

Qantas was among the first when it launched a “Spirit of Inclusion” initiative in March 2018.

The Australian flag carrier included WordsAtWork materials on the company intranet that suggested employees refrain from gender-specific words such as “honey”, “love” and “guys”, while the terms “partner”, “spouse” and “parents” were preferred above the more exclusionary “husband and wife” and “mum and dad”.

In March 2019, United became the first airline to introduce a non-binary gender option on bookings, while Air Canada staff were told to stop using “ladies and gentlemen” or “mesdames et messieurs” as a greeting in October last year, in favour of the more inclusive “hello everybody” or “tout le monde”.

Britain’s biggest budget airline, easyJet, followed suit in December 2019, issuing staff with guidance on how to welcome all customers in a friendly and inclusive way, such as using the greeting “welcome everyone”, after one passenger complained about the number of binary greetings used on one particular flight.

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