Japan Airlines adopts gender-neutral language

Japan Airlines adopts gender-neutral language

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The airline will make a worldwide switch from expressions such as “ladies and gentlemen” to more inclusive ones

Following in the footsteps of a number of international airlines, Japan Airlines (JAL) will be dropping conventional gendered expressions in favor of the more generic ones. The shift will take place on 1 October on flights and in airports around the world. 

On flights, the Tokyo-based airline will move away from “ladies and gentlemen” and towards other greetings, such as “good morning everyone” and “attention all passengers”. Similarly, it will use gender-neutral language in airport announcements.  

The airline “will abolish expressions based on (two types of) sex and use gender-friendly expressions”, said JAL’s spokesperson.

JAL has been using gender-neutral terms in Japanese for some time now and the switch will affect expressions used in other languages. It becomes the first Asian airline to implement the policy. 

The use of gender-neutral language is one in a series of efforts to make a more inclusive environment

In March, JAL announced its female flight attendants would have the option to wear trousers instead of skirts on flightsIn March, JAL announced its female flight attendants would have the option to wear trousers instead of skirts on flights — Shutterstock

JAL has previously made efforts to establish an inclusive environment for its employees and passengers. In March, it announced its female flight attendants would have the option to wear trousers instead of skirts on flights. 

To add to the airline’s list of gender-inclusive efforts, in 2010, its subsidiary JAL Express employed the first female commercial airline captain, Ari Fuji.

“We have committed to not discriminate based on gender, age, nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other personal attributes,” added JAL’s spokesperson. 

“We aspire to be a company where we can create a positive atmosphere and treat everyone, including our customers, with respect.”

Japan remains a conservative country with the topics of same-sex marriage and being openly gay not widely discussed. Yet, corporate efforts to create a more open and inclusive environment for everyone are on the rise in the country.  

More airlines around the world are adopting gender-inclusive language

Efforts to create such an environment have already begun in other companies — the Australian carrier Qantas adopted a gender-inclusive approach in 2018 and dropped terms such as “husband and wife” in favor of the more neutral ones, such as “parents”.

Similarly, United Airlines introduced non-binary gender options in their booking process in 2019. Budget airlines have followed suit — easyJet dropped gendered greetings on flights in late 2019.

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