Air Italy Becomes First European Airline To Add Non-Binary Gender

Air Italy is announcing that it will be the first European airline to make available a non-binary gender option for passengers booking flights. The announcement came via a press release on the airline’s website on June 5th.

Air Italy Becomes First European Airline To Add Non-Binary Gender
Numerous countries now allow for a non-binary option in their passports. Photo: Ait Italy

As of Wednesday, customers can choose M (male), F (female) or X (other). This will better correspond with gender-neutral passports that are issued by some States.

Last year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved changes to booking procedures to allow for non-binary gender options. In fact, as Europe’s first airline to make this move, Air Italy is also working with Arcigay on other inclusivity initiatives.

Arcigay is Italy’s first and largest national gay organisation aiming to combat homophobia, heterosexism, prejudice and anti-gay discrimination.

Air Italy Becomes First European Airline To Add Non-Binary Gender
Guests making reservations can choose between Male, Female and “X”. Photo: Air Italy

Diversity and inclusion

In Air Italy’s press release, the executives from Air Italy and Arcigay made the following statements:

“Air Italy’s brand tagline is – Imagine the world differently. Within this is a vision that embraces every manifestation of freedom, inclusion, the acceptance of diversity and striving for progress.” – Rossen Dimitrov, Air Italy Chief Operating Officer

Air Italy Becomes First European Airline To Add Non-Binary Gender
The Air Italy logo in pride colors. Photo: Air Italy

Furthermore, the remarks from the airline were accompanied by a statements made by Gabriele Piazzoni – the General Secretary of Arcigay:

“We are proud to cooperate with Air Italy…The decision of a first-tier airline like Air Italy to invest resources and time to focus on inclusivity, is a positive example that we hope is followed by others.”

Similar airlines and countries

Several February 2018 news stories reported that major US Airlines would be making the same move. However, since reporting, the only airline that has made news since is United Airlines as it became the First US carrier to offer non-binary identification while booking.

Many countries have a third option for their passports. For instance, according to Travel Daily News, the nations of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, India, Ireland, Malta, New Zealand, Nepal, The Netherlands and Pakistan already offer an option other than “M” or “F” on passports. In most cases the third option is “X” or “Mx”. These X passports have approval from the ICAO, the UN agency reponsible for regulating international air travel.

Will more airlines follow?

In conclusion, this seems like it is just the beginning of a movement and trend. In fact, it is almost a necessity as more countries continue to issue passports with a third option. Recently, Travelport, a travel commerce platform, announced that it has implemented a new booking code for non-binary gender airline passengers.

The company pledges to make the code available to all of the 480 airlines using ts platform who make the decision to adopt it.