Lufthansa has decided to drop gender-related terms from onboard announcements. The move follows similar movements that have been enacted elsewhere in the airline since June in order to create a more inclusive environment for those who may not identify as male or female.
Across the globe, airlines are making changes to ensure that all employees and customers feel comfortable and respected. Increasingly, such changes have been targeted at including those who may not be comfortable with gender-related terms and policies.
In June, Simple Flying reported that United Airlines would be updating its uniform standards, in part to give employees more freedom of gender expression. easyJet took the plunge far earlier, deciding that it would ditch gendered terms back in December 2019, following a similar decision from Air Canada in October of that year.
What’s going on at Lufthansa?
For years Lufthansa passengers have been used to being called “Damen und Herren” or “Ladies and Gentlemen”. This is all set to stop as the airline moves to more inclusive terms such as “Dear guests” or “Good morning/evening here onboard”. According to the airline, it will be up to individual employees to decide how to go about addressing passengers until a standard text is introduced.
A Lufthansa spokesperson told Simple Flying that the airline intends to show that diversity is not just a phrase but a lived reality. As such, the changes go far beyond onboard announcements. Lufthansa wants to instill diversity and equality as core values of the corporate culture. In Germany, such changes are already becoming a norm, with most job listings specifying that they are open to men, women, and ‘diverse’ individuals.
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Changes already being made
Since the start of June, Lufthansa has slowly been rolling the changes out across the business in a staged manner. Rather than changing everything at once, things are being updated as and when natural changes are made, such as when a contract is renewed. In addition, the airline is also encouraging its employees to speak and write in gender-neutral terminology while engaging with others in the workplace.
Interestingly, updating such terms carry differing levels of difficulty in different languages. A Lufthansa spokesperson told Simple Flying that it is starting the changes in German and English, its two primary languages, but that far fewer adjustments are required in English. In German, the airline is using suggestions made by the German Spelling Council.
The extent to which other languages will be changed will depend on whether such languages are already using gender-neutral terminology in their languages.
What do you make of the decision to switch to gender-neutral terms at Lufthansa? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!