Sunday, November 1, 2020

Listen up, y’all, Japan Airlines is now gender-neutral

Changes only affect onboard English as Japanese announcements are already gender-neutral.

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“Ladies and gentlemen” will no longer be heard on Japan Airlines (JAL) as the airline is dropping the traditional salutation in favour of gender-neutral expressions.

From October, cabin crew must begin their announcements with phrases along the lines of “Attention all passengers” and “Hello everyone”.

Being Japanese, the announcements will of course still be exquisitely polite.

However, the new policy will only affect announcements given in English, as in Japanese the expressions used for such announcements are already gender-neutral, AFP reports.

JAL’s new policy is unlikely to create any turbulence among Japanese passengers.

Professor Kazuya Kawaguchi, a sociologist at Hiroshima Shudo University, told the BBC that the new policy is not a big deal as most Japanese passengers cannot understand English and so will not notice any changes.

“However, as one of the leading LGBT-friendly enterprises in Japan this is a significant step forward because other medium or small-sized companies will probably follow,” he said.

JAL told Reuters it wanted to “create a positive atmosphere and treat everyone with respect”.

“We have committed to not discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity or other personal attributes,” spokesman Mark Morimoto said.

CNN reports that before this, the Tokyo-based airline’s most recent move for gender equality came in March 2020, when it announced it would give female flight attendants the option to wear trousers instead of skirts in order to be more comfortable on board.

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