In an attempt to promote “diversity and inclusiveness” for its customers, British Airways (BA) has advised pilots and cabin personnel not to use the usual “ladies and gentlemen” while delivering announcements to passengers, according to The Telegraph. The airline has instructed personnel to adopt gender-neutral greetings similar to those used at airports to make children feel included and respect the new societal standards. While speaking to The Telegraph, a spokesperson of Airways said that they value diversity and inclusion and are dedicated to making all travellers feel welcome when flying with British Airways. Meanwhile, according to Sir Martin Sorrell, founder of the world’s largest advertising company WPP, traditional pleasantries are no longer a priority for airline consumers.
Opinion polls, on the other hand, appear to indicate the opposite. Only 9% of respondents believe it is necessary to speak out on social issues that matter in the UK, according to a study conducted by the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) think tank in July, while 45% believe companies should avoid taking political and social positions. British Airways did not reveal how it intends to address its passengers. However, the company has often encouraged its pilots to put their own personalities into the onboard announcement, reported The Telegraph.
Netizens react to BA’s decision
Meanwhile, the BA’s decision seems to have not gone well with netizens who took to social media to post their reactions. Reacting to the decision, one of the users wrote, “Old-fashioned it may be, but I like to be referred to as a lady. What on earth is wrong with some courtesy – we are all either ladies or gentlemen as I don’t think that chimps or sheep can sit in aircraft seats! [sic].” “You carry the flag for Britain. You are British Airways, not Woke Airways .. wake up and respect our customs and traditions [sic],” wrote another. “Lol. British Airways make their customers unwelcome in so many ways, this is not one of them [sic],” expressed a third.
Here are some reactions by users
Old-fashioned it may be, but I like to be referred to as a lady. What on earth is wrong with some courtesy – we are all either ladies or gentlemen as I don’t think that chimps or sheep can sit in aircraft seats!
— Tessia 6🦕 (@tessia_6) October 9, 2021
You carry the flag for Britain. You are British Airways , not Woke Airways .. wake up and respect our customs and traditions .
— True_Belle (@True_Belle) October 9, 2021
Lol. British Airways make their customers unwelcome in so many ways, this is not one of them
— Fair Economist (@FairEconomist) October 9, 2021
BA follows Lufthansa, EasyJet and Air Canada
Notably, BA’s decision follows Lufthansa’s similar step taken earlier this year, as well as EasyJet and Air Canada’s in 2019. Qantas started its “Spirit of Inclusion” programme in 2018, encouraging employees to avoid using gender-specific terms, reported The Mirror. Last month, Air Malta announced that terms like “welcome, ladies and gentlemen” would be phased out in favour of more inclusive language like “Attention, all passengers.” The airline said in a statement that employees are now encouraged to refer to passengers as “guests” and other more universal terminology to help trans, non-binary, and intersex persons feel more at ease,” according to The Mirror.