No more ‘ladies and gentlemen’ on Japan Airlines


Japan Airlines said it would retire the phrase “Ladies and Gentlemen” from in-flight announcements made in English, a symbolic move towards inclusiveness in a country where activists seek to change long-standing gender traditions. Have fought

Announcements in Japanese will remain unchanged because gender-specific greetings are not used in the first place.

The announcement on Monday appeared for the first time for a Japanese carrier, as airlines, and metro systems, are phasing out gender-specific language in recent years worldwide. (In 2017, British officials said they would roll “Hello, Everyone” on the London underground.)

Mark Morimoto, a spokesman for Japan Airlines, said on Tuesday that greetings and announcements in English at the airport and cabin would use gender-neutral language such as “all passengers” or “all” – or avoid gender-specific phrases altogether – from Thursday .

“We aspire to be a company where we can create a positive environment and deal with everyone, including our customers,” Mr. Morimoto said in an email.

The airline’s short, some may say token, move towards a more gender-inclusive language is effectively targeted at non-Japanese passengers. Japan remains a conservative country, with lawmakers opposing the recognition of same-sex marriage, with even increased public support.

A recent survey by advertising giant Dentsu showed that about 80 percent of people 60 and now are under gay marriage. But the same survey found that more than half of gay men and lesbians in Japan were concerned about coming out, due to pressure to conform to rigid social norms.

Last year, 13 gay couples filed their first lawsuits in Japan, seeking to force the government to recognize same-sex marriage, arguing that their constitutional right to equality was violated. (Taiwan was the first in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage in May, 2019. Thailand’s government recognized same-sex unions in July but avoided the word “marriage” in the new law.)

The Japanese in other ways stressed against the traditional strictness around gender. “Genderless Genes” or a small but growing group of genderless men, blur the boundaries with androgynous gaze.

The global aviation industry was seen as a strict promoter of traditional gender roles through precise requirements for female flight attendants. She had to wear make-up, high heels and a skirt. In the early years, flight attendants also had weight requirements. Female pilots were rare.

Air travel was considered a glamorous affair in the 1960s, and using “ladies and gentlemen” only to address passengers during the so-called golden age of travel.

In recent years, airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, have called on flight attendants to relax certain rules of attendance, including pants in women’s uniforms.

In the wake of a campaign that targeted Japanese workplaces that required women to wear high-heeled shoes, Japan Airlines said in March that it would allow female flight attendants to choose shoes to wear in flights. Flight attendants will also be allowed to choose for the first time whether to wear pants instead of skirts.

In 2017, the airline also changed its policies to allow gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees to receive family benefits previously given to heterosexual couples. All Nippon Airways, a competitor, was nominated in 2018 at Tokyo International Airport with a bathroom gender neutral in the airline’s lounge. It also began in 2016 to allow travelers to register same-sex partners in mileage programs as family members.

Japan Airlines said it was inspired to listen to its customers, but it was not the first major airline to describe the phrase “ladies and gentlemen”. Air Canada and Easy Jet, among others, already stopped using it in announcements.

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