Air Canada Will No Longer Refer To Passengers As “Ladies & Gentlemen”

Filed Under: Air Canada

Many airlines are making efforts to be more inclusive. For example, earlier this year we saw airlines for the first time add a non-binary gender option when booking travel, including the option to select “X” as your gender (rather than “M” or “F”).

Air Canada is largely a progressive airline, and La Presse reports on an internal memo that has been sent to employees. Currently Air Canada’s flight attendants, gate agents, and pilots, refer to passengers as “ladies and gentlemen” when making announcements, but they’ll soon be updating their phrasing to be more gender neutral.

Instead Air Canada employees will be told to start their announcements with “hello everyone” or “good morning everyone.” The timeline for this policy change hasn’t yet been revealed, but apparently it’s imminent.

As it’s explained, “we want to ensure an inclusive space for everyone, including those who identify with gender X.” Per the memo:

“The change will be reflected in the transmission of the Onboard Announcement Manual as part of our commitment to respect gender identity, diversity and inclusion. We will tell you when this transmission will be available and when to implement this change.”

I’m supportive of this change, and this seems logical enough. It will mean a lot to some people, and this change shouldn’t negatively impact anyone. If nothing else, I appreciate it because it just eliminates some unnecessary words from inflight announcements. “Hello everyone” is faster than “ladies and gentlemen” (or Turkish Airlines, where every announcement starts with “ladies and gentlemen and dear children,” cute as that might be).

I’ll be curious to see if other airlines follow Air Canada’s lead on this.

(Tip of the hat to Paddle Your Own Kanoo)

Comments
  1. This is ridiculous. The whole world has to cater to a tiny fraction of people. Meanwhile, on a flight last month, my wife and I with our baby girl were sent down the wrong boarding gate tunnel by the staff and nearly missed our flight (as absurd as it sounds). And of course no one cared. I suppose they were too busy pandering to these groups instead of doing their jobs properly. Anyway I’m sure my views are going to be blocked.

  2. all good, except there’s no such thing as non-binary. Sam Smith feeling feminine one morning doesn’t mean he’s something other than male.

  3. What a joke! Soon men and women won’t be qualified as such because it will look ‘sexist’ to ask a man if he is a man and a woman if she is one.

  4. This is a small but welcome development.
    Although I would underscore that I wouldn’t hold in contempt anyone who continues to use the “ladies and gentlemen” address, as it’s such an ingrained part of our culture.

    @listen: Sam Smith is gay. He is not non-binary- plus, what an unkind statement to make.

  5. @listen i don’t think anyone is questioning sam smith’s ‘maleness’…this is about gender (identity), not biological sex.

  6. This is absolutely ridiculous. It has all gotten so out of control (and this is coming from a gay man) before anyone starts.

    A male decides to transition to a female, then surely he/she is now addressed as female OR responds to that.

    Anyway, got to get everyone onboard with what needs to be sold.

  7. And yet airlines (such as BA) still routinely request/enforce that men not be sat next to unaccompanied minors.

    Gender still seems to be a big deal, after all.

  8. The sheer volume of people who are so offended by a simple statement such as “everyone” instead of “ladies and gentlemen” is just… wow.

    Well. Sometimes you can’t fix bigotry.

  9. What the heck, why is this such a trigger for some people?
    Of late, I have been trying to figure out why we have gender designations at all. Why does a flight reservation need m, f, or x? Why does your drivers license or passport? Other than your doctor, I don’t understand why the world has decided that this is required information. It seems to me that it is a useless information field

  10. I’m old enough to remember when lots of people thought the world was going to come to an end when airline stopped calling female flight attendants stewardesses.
    Folks you will get over it.

    PS Air Canada has one of the most inclusive safety videos. Some of you will know what I’m referring to:-)

  11. ::grabs popcorn, waits for all the trans/homophobic comments from those pathetic “men” with fragile masculinity to whom the world has done nothing but cater for centuries and are now threatened because someone else is receiving some attention::

    Seriously, dudes/dudettes…get a grip. If this offends you, you have MUCH bigger issues to contend with.

  12. @Farnorthtrader:

    Exactly. Further, it seems those who love to hurl the snowflake…”insult” – if you wanna call it that – when referring progressive folks are the ones most easily offended by everything these days. The irony and hypocrisy is thick.

  13. I’m sick of people getting easily offended these days. And AR, you are wrong — again, I might add. Why can’t they just say a more formal “dear passengers”? Being inclusive is one thing, staying classy is a different topic. “Hello, everyone!” is just a capitulation.

  14. @neil you mean the Indian lady demonstrating the oxygen mask? 😉

    Oh wait, the two good “friends” sitting next to each other and leaving the window seat open.

  15. Hospitals use the term “clients’ instead of ‘patients’. So airline using the term “everyone”, “passengers”, and “clients” may become norm. Or simply “Attention Please”.

  16. LOL…Ladies and gentlemen and those who just aren’t sure today, welcome aboard. Please take your seats, buckle up and if I offended anyone by welcoming them today please fill out the hurt feelings card in the back of your seat next to the emergency exit instructions pamphlet.

  17. Please help enlighten me @I am…how is gender different than your biological identity? Unless someone is born with XO or XXY how is it a fluid category? Please someone help explain because I have never heard an explanation before.

  18. Honestly, for a group of people who travel – and therefore are both privileged and presumably aware of other cultures – I’m surprised at how narrow-minded many of these comments are.

    Non-gendered words are a feature of many languages, including a tiny little country called China. There are no pronouns in many languages, like “he/she” or “his/her”.

    “Ladies and gentlemen” and its non-English language equivalents are just a feature of SOME languages, and is totally unnecessary (and sexist and exclusive, just by the fact that it’s always “ladies” first). It has just taken countries such as ours a little longer to catch up.

    So all of you who find this upsetting, don’t fear – your kids likely will not.

  19. Well, it’s certainly not true that the majority of men traveling are gentlemen, nor that all women are ladies, so the current terms are already pretty inaccurate. These days if you board an airplane and are not referred to as “pin cushion”, “raw meat”, or “PITA” then you’re ahead of the game. It shouldn’t be too hard to come up with an elocution that doesn’t offend anyone.

    On second thought, in a world in which people revel in taking offense, maybe it won’t be so easy.

  20. Farnorthtrader

    Reason airlines collect Gender data

    Every flight’s load is being calculated for the center of balance. Data achieved are used to set stabilizers and flaps for take-off, landing and flight itself. It’s crucial for safety (and economy). Components of equations are:

    fuel weight (tanks are also in wings so depending on how much fuel they contain balance center moves backwards or forwards)

    freight load and distribution

    passengers weight and distribution (usually there are 3 sections of cabin)

    crew (amount of people in front and back are changing balance center drastically)

    and some other stuff (like food in galleys)

    Now how can you compute weight of passengers? You need average.

    So it is decided (by IATA) that we take 84 kg regardless of gender (including carry on bag) BUT in case when there are more than 23% (or something like that) of females on board they use alternative weights which are 88kg male and 74kg female
    Of course it is verified during check-in but it might be also needed during reservation for estimating.
    Children are 35kg (age 2-16) and infants are 0kg (age below 2)

    Example: http://cdn.pista73.com/media/2011/01/Folhas_manuais1.jpg

    Of course it’s done mainly by software these days but all loadsheeters and flight deck crew are certified for manual loadsheet too.

  21. God. These comments are a cancer.

    It’s faster, it does the same job, and it does not harm you.

    Personally, I’d rather the flight attendants greet all of us with a “Have a sh*tty flight”, but one can dream.

  22. Given that Air Canada is bilingual (English & French), I am guessing they cannot go with “Dear passengers”, since the French word for passenger has both feminine (passagère) and masculine (passager) versions. On the other hand, “everyone” is neutral (tout le monde), so this might work, although I agree it does not sound classy. I’ll keep my ears open on their announcements during my next flight with AC.

  23. @Dov – interesting. Thanks for that info.

    I am surprised at all the hateful comments on here. It’s fine to think someone is weird or a snowflake or get discriminated against or have mental illness when….well….it’s not them.

    I’m a gay man. I’m not transsexual, pan sexual Or anything else and while I might not personally get it, I accept it and treat everyone with respect. It someone feels a women and wants feminine pronouns so be it. It doesn’t affect me in any way.

    Just because we don’t get it doesn’t mean it’s crazy or an illness. Look at all the transsexuals coming out now that it’s semi more mainstream.

    And for all the gays on here posting hateful comments. Don’t you remember when it was like being in the closest? Thank god for the people that came before us so that its easier now. Wasn’t it refreshing for people to think oh who cares? It’s too bad there’s still those where that isn’t their reaction.

    I just think they’re going through the same thing. I can’t imagine what it’s like for someone who wants to transition. If saying people, passengers or you all makes them feel more accepted so be it. It doesn’t affect me in any way.

  24. Lucky, why does your blog attract so many sensitive snowflakes? At least it’s not as bad as Garys blog.

    Imagine being someone who gets offended that an airline says ‘good morning everybody’.

    What a sad life that must be.

  25. Doesn’t AAs video start out with hello everyone?

    For what it’s worth I think it’s the only thing they’ve done well in the 3 years. It’s done very well and my kids love the part “first things first let’s buckle those belts. “

    But to that point, they’ve already done this.

  26. @infinite number of Js – it’s about being made to feel welcome and wanted. Not being offended and complain. If your not in a group who used to be discriminated against you wouldn’t understand.

    Luckily I live in Columbus Ohio which is fairly liberal (rest of Ohio not so much) but have been in other cities just walking down the street and people have yelled faggots out of their car. We weren’t even holding hands. One of us must wear it on our shoulders but yeah it’s not so much about being offended as it is about being accepted.

  27. I love all the people in the comments. They make me feel good about myself. To all of you who immediately swarmed in every social media platform to whine, calling non-binary people snowflakes, maybe you are the snowflakes, seeing how you go out of your way to insult people and show your dissatisfaction with every little change that will change exactly nothing in your life

  28. I clicked on this thinking I was going to read how AC’s flyers are offended by the term “Ladies & gentleman,” which seemed unbelievable.

    Instead I found out the only people who are offended by the term “Ladies & gentleman” are the ones who hang out on Lucky’s travelblog, which is completely believable.

    @Alan you win the internet. Best comment I’ve read all week.

  29. Stupid … but also not important–I don’t see how anyone could actually be offended by airline staff greeting them by saying “hello, everyone.” Still, PC has run amok.

  30. @Farnorthtrader

    Why does a flight reservation need m, f, or x? Why does your drivers license or passport?

    It can eliminate a large set of people to identify the correct identity.
    There are many countries that are less “politically correct” and would detain you if your gender looks different from your passport.

    And the reason people get fed up because it changes the way we live too fast. #MeToo and Sexual harassment became a weapon that can attack you back in the time when it is more open. It becomes a fear that things that was ok 20 years ago will hunt you down today. Just go back an watch TV or movies from that era, try Seinfeld.

    The next thing you know 100 years from now the word women becomes the w-word and you can call other people women anymore, as it will remind them what their ancestors had to endure living in America. But hey by then Columbus day could be #MeToo day and we have a female history month?

  31. So if the terms Mr, Mrs, Ms are no longer allowed, how will I be addressed when I check-in or other contacts? Instead of Mr Airfarer it will now be Airfarer? Sounds like my history teacher.

    What nonsense.

  32. what about “A very good morning to you all”, heard it a few times on trains here. Nothing wrong with it.

  33. @Airfarer

    We had the argument about “title” last month on the post “A “Title” Option I’d Like To See More Hotels Adopt”
    Hmm, few hot debates per month keeps activity and impressions high. Good work.

  34. Well, if you against this idea then you are apparently homophobic and if you think it’s a great idea, then you are political correct it seems?
    Apart from the question if this is really necessary and what the exact goal is, I believe I tend to be against because “hello everyone” sounds very generic. KLM addresses their passengers with “Hello Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls, this is your captain speaking”.

    Why wouldn’t someone not want to be addressed by “lady” Or “gentleman”, regardless what sex one is born ?

    It should cover everyone?

  35. Or to quote Lola/Simon in the hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots, “Ladies, Gentlemen, and Those Who Have Yet To Make Up Their Minds . . .”

  36. Remember “Colored” and “Whites Only” signs?
    “That’s Different”?

    Is sexual orientation a choice?
    Is trans?

    Bigotry is ALWAYS a choice.

  37. While not for the same reasons, Qantas’ preferred greeting at gates and on board has been “Hello Everyone” for some time. It was done to make the greeting more casual, suitable to all times of the day, and inclusive of genders and ages in a short and friendly manner.

  38. In short, a complete ridiculous move by Air Canada’s part not doubt cheered on by the “Teenager” who is the current Canadian PM and his knit wit cabinet.

    This makes me more appreciate of the BA Captains when they greet us as “Ladies and Gentleman, Boys and Girls”. Warming but professional.

    I think an alternative greeting for Air Canada to use would be “Hello Cupcakes”.

    W

  39. Being trans isn’t a choice and this only serves to bolster the fake “nonbinary” folks who shove themselves into trans spaces without being dysphoric.

  40. Wow I can’t believe the level of ignorance displayed by these comments, and I’m glad that at least Ben realized how much this means to some people. Realize that by your not being accepting of people’s gender, it may just be a slight change for you but it is their whole life so you should try to put yourself in their shoes. I’m really glad Air Canada has made this decision.

  41. More idiotic political correctness to appeal to the tiniest percentage of the population. I don’t know of a single woman who is offended if someone walks up to a crowd they are with and says’ hey guys’.
    All this crap is simply catering to those that don’t like the status quo. Suck it up!

  42. Thanks, Ben. Not sure why the snowflakes feel their worlds are going topsy-turvy. Maybe time to find that Homer Simpson anti-gay rant gif.

    @dov, astounding average weights being used…especially if those were to be used here in the US. Males at 193 lbs on average? We’re far girthier than that. And women over 160 lbs? Quite an average. My wife and I and our 40 lb suitcase come in at 400 lbs cumulative. And I’d say we’re on the light side! 🙂

  43. I love how upset people are about this. If they made this change and didn’t tell anyone, no one would either notice or care.

  44. I wish I was more surprised by the level of bigotry on display here. I doubt there’s a single one of you who has NOT been on a flight where the captain has opened an announcement with “Good morning/afternoon/evening, folks”. It just isn’t necessary to include gendered language in standard greetings, and now that we are beginning as a society to recognize that language excludes some people, why wouldn’t we change it? We use gendered terms for spouse less frequently in general conversation because the recognition of same-sex relationships brought with it the realization that those terms are exclusionary. Society is changing in ways that allow more people to live in ways that feel true to them. That’s good.

    And you can yell about political correctness run amok all you like, but it won’t change the fact that what you oppose is a policy that helps some people and doesn’t hurt anyone. What does that make you?

  45. I think the majority of us sitting in steerage are upset at the legroom, I see no attempt at making us happy

  46. This change will not only impact those with different identities but also the many women/people identifying as female who find Lady/ladies 19th century. As a cis woman I much prefer being addressed as woman than lady. And ‘everyone’ is just fine by me.

  47. I find it disheartening that people feel the need to react with such virulence to a change that doesn’t impact them at all. I think it comes down to feeling left behind in a changing world. It’s no excuse, but I can feel some sympathy for these sad people, at least.

    The concept of “biological sex” is a layman’s term that you wouldn’t find any doctor or academic trained today using. As with so many things in nature, human sex doesn’t fit neatly into two discrete boxes. Some might assume that biological sex means chromosomal sex, is a person XX or XY? But there are many chromosomal disorders that lead to other than XX/XY expression. It is also not very rare to see people with ambiguous genitalia who do not have a chromosomal disorder. Most trans people do not have chromosomal disorders or ambiguous genitalia, but brain scans show physical, sex-differentiated structures associated with people of their same gender identity. For most of us, these sex markers are consistent, our chromosomes, genitals, hormones, gender identity are all in alignment. But the people for whom this isn’t true are not crazy or unworthy of the even slight level of accommodation they are fighting for.

    But I think who we are really forgetting about with this debate is CISWOMEN. It is not only non-binary or trans people who object to old-fashioned, sexist language like Ladies and Gentlemen. My 60 something mother objects to company’s using archaic, highly coded sex designators too. She would have some strong words for those of you complaining about how the #MeToo movement is calling you to account for past behavior from a time when “we didn’t know any better.” As a young lawyer she trained company after company on sexual harassment law in the 1980s. At the time, our society knew it was wrong enough that people needed CYA training. Apparently enough of you took that message as, “don’t put anything in writing,” rather than “sexual harassment and assault are always wrong.” And clearly you still haven’t gotten the message, because so many of you shout your transphobic messages in indelible digital ink. You will be called to account for this as well. The ones of you that haven’t died of old age, at least.

  48. Ladies & Gentlemen is such a 19th Century expression. And in the scrum that flying is these days, real ladies and gentlemen would be crushed underfoot by the me-me-me stampeding hordes at the airport.
    For all I care they could say “Listen up pigs and bitches!” , because in the US at least, that’s pretty much what they’re thinking.

  49. @BobTL
    In a politically correct world, Hello boys & girls makes you sound like a pedophile.

    @Tim
    Amazing how easily adults get triggered revealing their inherent bigotry.

    Yep bigotry is noticed since Allah, Jesus, Yahweh (in alphabetic order) became a thing.
    First there were Pagans, then there are witch hunt, now is 9/11.
    And then there is Adam and Eve which might have been TransAdam and BiEve who knows.

    Hmm, are religions behind all of this????

  50. Earthlings. Good morning, Earthlings.

    honestly, AC’s solution is absolutely reasonable. I came here to see the anti-PC outrage and am amused by all the snowflakes who have a problem with something they claim they don’t understand.

  51. Lucky can you please do something about your toxic-as-hell readership? Seems like half your posters are trolls or snowflakes who complain about the “liberal dictatorship” while actually voting for real autocrats.

  52. Airlines should just refer to passengers as ‘self-loading cargo’. That’s the view of penny-grabbing airline executives anyway.

  53. A sensible change, long overdue. But of course the troglodytes will view it as the end of civilisation as we know it.

  54. The Indian government has recognized those who don’t feel represented by the traditional binary genders for a while now. The option for “other” exists. What’s taking everyone else so long?

  55. @James +1
    @keitherson +1

    I’d like to confess to my various bigotries.
    1. I wish all commenters would identify their Nationality. I bet that my guesses will be 94% correct, or better. And yet, what use is that, if Lucky (Ben), Harvey Milk and Ellen Degeneris are all American? Even if my guesses would be 100% right…

    2. I wish I knew, for each comment, whether the contributor A. knows a gay person well and respects him and B. knows a trans person well and respects him/her and B. has a University degree.

    Ok, so for those of you who are disgusted by the AC proposal, I’m guessing you’re disgusted by my attitude too, especially the deliberate bait about your education (just above, word starting with “U”). See how offensive bigotry is?

    Quod erat demonstrandum Baby

    mean people suck

  56. Love seeing all the anti-PC snowflakes triggered by a simple change that doesn’t impact their lives at all. They act as though accommodating a simple request to treat people with common decency is some huge burden and that their lives will be forever changed for the worst, when it has literally zero effect on their day-to-day lives.

    It’s not like there are bands of militant trans/non-binary people roaming the streets waiting to catch you in a slip up. We all make mistakes, and every trans/non-binary person I have met understands that. It’s the thought and intention that counts. So long as you exert the minimal effort to treat people with respect as they wish to be treated, you are fine.

  57. Fascinating, isn’t it, that the majority of people posting here about how abhorrent this new policy is have “male” screennames. Worried about your manhood, much? This literally hurts NO ONE, yet folks are reacting as if they are being forced to change their own gender. What many of you are calling PC nonsense is, to others, a matter of survival and a recognition of their humanity. That you cannot see that reflects not just your political views, but the humanity in yourselves, too.

  58. It would be better if Air Canada concentrated on their real problems like their deflating business class seats.

  59. This is absolutely ridiculous. The world is unfortunately going crazy, my goodness…I weep for this generation. May God restore order to this broken world…. 🙁

  60. @Ralph4878

    The mind reels doesn’t it? These commenters are behaving as though they were being asked to sacrifice their first-born children instead of taking the minor and basic step of treating people how they would like to be treated. For example, if someone named Charles said they preferred to be called “Charlie” and did not like being called “Chuck”, most of these people would have no issue calling that person Charlie and refraining from calling them “Chuck” or at the very least wouldn’t act as though the mere request was some insane burden being imposed upon them. Respecting that different people have different gender identities is no different.

    Most trans/non-binary people aren’t going to be super bothered by a generic “ladies and gentlemen” when being addressed in a large group, but its also not that hard to just use something gender-neutral and it means a lot to our trans/non-binary fellow humans.

  61. I’m not against something other than ‘ladies and gentlemen’ being used but I can say I’d prefer that other option not to be ‘hello everyone’. That’s a bit too informal for me. Surely there’s a better version?

  62. @chasgoose
    Couldn’t agree more.
    All these protests are doing is proving that yes, privilege is real, and that most cis-gender males who show up in this space don’t want to give it up. Whether it’s this post, a post on a black passenger being treated unfairly, or another non-white, non-male individual asking to be treated equally, they show up. That’s why they voted for Cheeto 45, and why they are now scared: the “snowflakes” they claim are SO fragile are not – they’re just fed up with a status quo that only serves the interests of a shrinking, privileged demographic…

  63. It’s astonishing how upset people are by a change in this greeting. I’m hoping most people are more involved in their daily lives than spending time hating how an airline greets then when making boarding announcements and being put off if they’re not addressed as sir or lady.
    It’s a bit petty to be all bent out of shape about this.

  64. I hope they are satisfied with a small group of people. For me I will never fly with them again nor any of my 300 employees. You just made travel more difficult for me but you are going too loose alot more then I will.

  65. A surely welcome change, but I would prefer making their extraodinarily cramped 777-300ER a little more humane for a 15 hour flight.

  66. I’m a gay man, and if Air Canada no longer thinks I am a gentleman then I don’t have to treat the flight attendants like ladies and gentleman either. I can just say to them “Attendant, get me a Coke” instead of my previous “Miss, may I have a Coke please?” Treat me like a gentleman, and I’ll oblige. Treat me like a faceless and formless entity approved by the PC Police, and I’ll treat you like that right back. Really dumb move by Air Canada

  67. @ MICHAEL – How has this policy made your travel “more difficult?”

    @Thor – does being a gay man suddenly give you more authority in this conversation, or are you just projecting your insecurity about your gender identity as a result of the way the cis world has treated you for being a gay man?

  68. Ridiculous.
    Inclusiveness and respect are a must, but we are going too far.
    Really someone can feel insulted by the “Ladies and Gentlemen” welcome?!
    #keepitreal

  69. This is good. But could they treat their passengers as human beings as opposed to profit units? That will be even a more welcome change.

  70. @Phil Duncan yeah the balloon seats, celebrated by everyone, it seems. I hate hate hate them and wish I could fully deflate it, so I could sit on the foam, but they won’t deflate! Seems you have the opposite complaint, unless I misunderstood. Very expensive seats, which most seem to think are grand. Sigh

    But they can address people the way each wants to be addressed, AND fix the seats. Not sure you were aware of that.

  71. What a wonderful gesture – kudos to AC. Personally, a simple “Good day passengers (or guests)” is fine for me. In fact, I think in-flight announcements can be shortened and kept to a minimum anyways. Frankly, I never see the need to address a person with a honorific. A simple, “excuse me , do you think …” is sufficiently polite.

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