Air Canada has changed its inflight greeting from “ladies and gentlemen” to gender natural words like “everybody”.
See also: How Air Canada is making its mark on gender equality, locally and globally
As you can imagine, the response has been equal parts heartwarming and insensitive.
A spokesperson for the airline told CTV News, Montreal that Air Canada will be amending its onboard announcements to modernise them and remove specific references to gender.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
Many Twitter users have expressed their support for the move.
“@AirCanadato swap ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ in their announcements with ‘Hello, everyone’ ensuring announcements are gender-neutral. This is a big win for gender identity, diversity and inclusion. #LGBTQ #lgbtqtwitter,@AimeeChallenor,” said Twitter user @Vinamralongani.
“I hear Air Canada is moving towards addressing its passengers in a more gender-neutral way, replacing “ladies and gentlemen” with “everyone”. This. Is. Good.” said @kateality.
However, some responses disregarded the need for inclusivity in the aviation industry and bordered on insensitive and tone-deaf.
“Emergency #aircanada executive meeting Our service is terrible, our planes are always late, and we routinely disappoint our customers; what should we do? GOT IT, let’s refer to our passengers as “it” #problemsolving,” said @it_is_confucius
“So what are we to address their Staff? ‘Excuse me, Unknown gender.” #AirCanada,” tweeted @FerrolEl.
Despite the backlash, Air Canada is certainly not the first airline to take steps toward more inclusive language.
In March last year, Qantas distributed an information booklet to staff advising them to avoid gender-specific words like “honey”, “darling”, “guys”, and “love” to help staff members grow more aware of what might offend those around them.
Qantas staff were also told to use “partner” or “spouse” instead of “husband and wife”, and “parents” instead of “mum and dad” to avoid excluding LGBTI families.
American Airlines, Jetstar and Travelport have also made their customer identification more inclusive, with customers able to tick ‘male’, ‘female’, or unspecified, undisclosed or ‘x’ in the ticket booking process.
Virgin Australia has also said it is looking at options for enabling a non-binary gender option for bookings made on their site.
Travel Weekly has approached Air Canada for comment.