October 18th, 2019 – Air Canada employees will no longer use the phrase “ladies and gentlemen,” opting instead for “everybody” in order to provide a gender-neutral term. The airline language swap will be mandatory for all pilots, gate agents, and stewardesses — scratch that — flight attendants.
The announcement came over the weekend with Air Canada telling CTV News that it wanted to modernize onboarding announcements following governmental regulation changes for gender identity on passports.
“We will be amending our onboard announcements to modernize them and remove specific references to gender,” a media spokesperson for the company told CTV. “We work hard to make sure all employees feel like valued members of the Air Canada family, while ensuring our customers are comfortable and respected when they choose to travel with us.”
As of 2017, Canadian citizens have been able to select a gender-neutral option for their passport using “Gender X.” This change made Canada the first North American country to provide a non-binary option.
“All Canadians should feel safe to be themselves, live according to their gender identity and express their gender as they choose,” immigration minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement at the time.
Earlier this year, Airlines for America, an industry trade group, announced it will expand gender options for US passengers booking flights. American, United, and Southwest will be among those offering non-binary options including “unspecified” and “undisclosed.”
Back in March, United became the first US airline to allow customers to choose the gender-neutral title “Mx” instead of “Mr.” or “Ms.” while booking flights online.
While progress is being made in the sky, the news on the ground received mixed reviews. There were significantly more positive reactions online, but several people still took to Twitter to voice their confusion as to why this change needed to be made. And some people even gave other gender-neutral phrase suggestions.
Whoever in the top brass at @AirCanada approved of removing “ladies and gentlemen” from the greeting…congrats for lowering the class of your experience. Formal titles that make people feel appreciated is not assuming gender. Soon we’ll just end up as numbers.