Doctor Complains About Being Called ‘Miss’ On Qantas Flight

Filed Under: Qantas

An interesting story has been making the rounds in Australia over the past week.

On August 31 this year, female British Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Exeter, Dr. Siobhan O’Dwyer took a Qantas flight and was unhappy that although her boarding pass stated her title as ‘Doctor,’ when Qantas crew checked her boarding pass they referred to her as ‘Miss.’

She tweeted the following after the flight:

Dr. O’Dwyer has gone on to say that it was not about her ego, and that this error would not have been made by the crew if she was male, and it is an example of the ‘everyday sexism she, and other women have to face.’

This has caused great debate both online and in media circles.

The tweet has been liked almost 9,000 times with almost 7,000 comments both supporting and criticising her (in roughly equal measure).

Many sympathise with Dr. O’Dwyer and are calling for Qantas to apologise to her for the error. However just as many commentators have called Dr. O’Dwyer petty for making such a big deal out of something they deem fairly insignificant.

Qantas has attempted to downplay the issue, only publicly saying:

We are extremely proud of our cabin crew who respectfully serve our customers day in and day out and play a vital safety role.

Bottom line

I’m not going to give my opinion on this one, especially after the British Airways hairstyle article, other than to say the Qantas crew member may have simply not seen the title on the boarding pass, rather than actively choosing to ignore it, or ‘deciding it’s a typo’ as the tweet suggested.

I’m interested to know what you guys think of this though — should Qantas apologise for not using a passenger’s correct title, as is stated on their boarding pass?

  1. Another intitled academic. When passengers are coming through the door you know where to look on the boarding pass to find their last name and looking for the title takes up time.

    But let’s face it she should be grateful that she even got greeted by her name and not just ‘welcome onboard’.

  2. She’s a massive tool – classic feminist response to a situation.

    I’m a doctor too, Medical and PhD. Do I give a crap when someone calls me Sir or Mr. Not in the slightest. Although, maybe I’d be upset if they called me Miss… ;P

  3. No Qantas should definitely not apologize to this lady. She is an idiot, the crew member might have not seen it or just saw her and said miss and that would probably happen to a male (with sir). She is making such a big deal out of. If all you want to achieve out of 8 years of university is being called Dr then she should have her doctorate taken away from her.

    “An interesting story has been making the rounds in Australia over the past week.”

    James I live in Perth and read the newspaper everyday (and watch the news regularly) and read a lot of travel articles and websites and this is the first time I am hearing of it. This is such a non-story and is just wasting space on OMAAT. Also it is giving this person publicity which she definitely does not deserve. James if you don’t have anything to write about then write about best redemptions in Velocity and the routes that maximize status credits for Velocity and Qantas. Also when are you flying QF 9 PER – LHR direct (its your two countries directly linking).

  4. I’m curious about the story. Isn’t the default ‘Mr’, ‘Ms’? To ensure greater likelihood that the real passenger flies? Do they display titles on boarding passes? Mine doesn’t. Not sure why anyone would care to be addressed by some academic degree that is irrelevant for travel related purposes, like most other purposes.

  5. I’m a male medical physician and I have always been called Mr. Does not bother me at all.. Not sure why she is making such a big deal.

  6. Typical of younger faculty members 🙂 Giver her a couple of years and she should stop giving a damn.
    @Udo, some airlines allow a lot more selections than Mr and Ms (e.g. Dr., Prof., Baron, Viscount, Rev., Rabbi, etc)

  7. @Aztec Hilarious. My last comment featured laughing imojis that didn’t show when posting. Thanks for the late night laugh.

  8. the fact that she would care enough to enter “Dr.” when booking her flight already speaks volumes. I don’t think a male philosopher should be addressed as doctor either, unless it is in an academic context (for example, when being introduced at a lecture). For that matter, a medical doctor (male or female) should also be addressed as Mr. and Ms. wherever they are, unless they are there in a professional capacity. (for example, at a hospital, or when helping during an emergency)
    This is just my opinion of course. Btw, I do have a doctorate.

  9. I have a Phd. Never expected to be called a dr. I thought just the Germans cared. I guess some australians do to. I learned something today.

  10. The trash talk and labels against her are wrong, Guys. The staffmember did, in fact, err, Guys. The complainant is, in fact, entitled to complain about it, Guys. It’s unfortunate that she is this unhappy and there’s obviously history here: does she look young for her age? Does she experience this repeatedly? Does she have her own prejudice against Qantas? Against Australians? Was it an otherwise bad day, making her jumpy and sensitive to mistreatment by an airline? We’ll never know and we should forgive, too, Guys. “Walk a mile in her shoes”.

    Sure, she should have just moved on and forgotten the annoyance. But the internet-troll condemnation and judgement of her is sad, Guys. She’s earned the title and Qantas has a drop-down for each passenger’s title. Trashing her for complaining about this looks like mysogyny, Guys.

    I wonder whom I’ve offended by assuming all her critics above are male.

  11. I’m a male medical doctor and routinely called “Mr” by airline employees. It’s nice when they do notice and call me “Dr” but I certainly don’t feel offended if they don’t!

    Some airlines are better at using “doctor” than others (e.g. BA) and I suspect that’s a cultural thing. I’m not at all surprised that Qantas employees might take a more informal approach.

  12. I too earned a PhD. I spent more time at the university than 8 years. I laugh/roll my eyes when I see people like Dr. O’Dwyer insist on having their title used ‘in the real world’. It is certainly a title that I use at my job at the university but rarely, rarely outside of it. Certainly it’s her right, but I see such insistence as a bit much and to tweet in outrage is way too much. Reading stuff like this helps me understand again why people in my line of work have a bad reputation.

  13. Isn’t each of us entitled to decide our own names? I get fed up of people harvesting marketing data, then sending me endless jolly emails where they address me by my first name as if they are some friend.

    So I always fill in my first name as something rude – “Tosser”, say – so that their chummy emails then always begin “Dear Tosser”. I think that more accurately reflects what they really think of me (and, indeed, may more accurately reflect reality).

    In Australia, I thought the default female title was Ms rather than Miss – the latter implying a spare woman who hasn’t yet achieved the nirvana of being married and, hence, part of her man’s property assets?

    But the responders insisting only medical people should use the term “Dr” are idiots: for most medics with medical degrees it’s simply a courtesy title – they have not warned a higher doctorate until they do a PhD or equivalent. In some jurisdictions – the UK, for instance – the most senior surgeons cease using the title Dr and take an honorific of Mr (or equivalent). Calling your male consultant surgeon “Dr” is grossly insulting (similarly here, dental surgeons are Mr, etc, not Dr).

    So if I was running an international airline – and we should all thank God I’m not – I’d let the customer use whatever they chose (which, presumably, matches their passport?), and then use it when addressing them. It’s basic courtesy, isn’t it?

  14. People should call you whatever shows up in your passport and no one has “doctor” as their first name. Let’s not mix arrogance with sexism, geez.

  15. The people truly deserving of that title would never make such a big deal about a trival issue. I know doctors that purposely don’t talk about their line of work because they’re on vacation and could care less about titles.

    My good friend who’s a medical doctor was flying once and the guy seated next to him asked him about his line of work and he simply said “I work in a hospital”. On that same flight there was a medical emergency on-board and he only responded after the crew made a PA request for a doctor. He’s always humble about his profession. That’s a true Dr.

  16. Never saw any airline printing titles other than Mr/Ms on boarding passes – and that is for statistics purposes during emergency operations. I’m pretty sure her boarding pass (name on ticket notwithstanding) didn’t show “Dr. Siobhan O’Dwyer” unless her name on passport was actually “Dr. Siobhan O’Dwyer”. Judging from all the boarding passes I was issued, the name shown would have been sth like “SIOBHAN O’DWYER MS”

    So nothing wrong with Qantas addressing her as “Miss[I’m sure the attendant meant Ms.]” O’Dwyer. Simple.

  17. I did my undergraduate degree in Melbourne and all my lecturers chose to be addressed by their first name, including the Professors. The lady’s behaviour just screams entitlement to me. Besides, I believe the title ‘Doctor’ should only appear on your flight ticket if you have a medical background so that if there’s a medical emergency mid-flight the crew should’ve at least been aware of a doctor being onboard. It should not be used as an ego boost.

  18. Empty life if this is the most that rocks her world. Lot of older single women are like that. No wonder!

    Be proud of your achievements and stay single and die lonely.

  19. Reminds me of a certain senator from California who said to an Army General at a hearing: ““Do me a favor, can you say ‘senator’ instead of ‘ma’am’? It’s just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title, so I’d appreciate it. ”

  20. They would need to relegate to calling her a generic name like “mam,” before getting close to intentional disrespect.

    I have two graduate degrees and my name or way to be addressed was not part of the equation in my decision obtain them.

  21. I think it depends. If she were travelling with a male colleague and the flight attendant addressed him as Dr. whereas the same flight attendant addressed her as Ms, then I see the issue.
    However, any reasonable person *hopefully* understands that a flight attendant has to read hundreds of passenger boarding passes before a flight and addressing someone as Miss should be ok.
    I’d think she’d be more offended if she was addressed as Mister than Miss (even though the boarding pass stated Dr.)

  22. I know a psychiatrist who refuses to put “Dr” on any of his airline reservations. He said that during in-flight medical emergencies, the crew scan the passenger list and ask people who call themselves “Dr” for help. The psychiatrist said he’d rather they find a “real” doctor. He hasn’t treated medical emergencies since he was a resident many years ago, so he would much rather not be asked.

  23. I doubt that in the mad rush of boarding, an FA looked at the title, thought for a moment, and then consciously decided to NOT call her “dr.” I’d be thrilled to be greeted by name at all, but my standards have been beaten down by many years of domestic flying.

    Most Americans prefer to call each other by first name, so it comes across as ridiculously pretentious for a PhD to insist on being called “dr” outside of a formal academic setting. I’m perfectly aware that Europeans are more particular about their titles, so a learned individual from Europe should be equally aware that those of us in “the colonies” are substantially less formal.

  24. Same happened to my wife and me. Although neither of us cares what they call us, we both had Dr. on our ticket since it was in the FF system. The same flight attendant called me “Dr.” and my wife “Ms.”

  25. I’m curious. Why this kind of article showed up on OMAAT? It used to be a good review on products or significant incident in airline industry. How come OMAAT dropped to a level where buzzfeed and trolls lived? Shame on you newb writer….

  26. To all those people claiming that boarding passes don’t show “Dr”, you’re just wrong. I have a PhD. When an airline allows me a title beyond Mr, I select Dr or Prof, depending on my options. On non-US carriers, my boarding pass routinely shows Dr where it would show Mr or Ms or Miss. In F/J, cabin crew generally are careful to refer to me as Dr Lastname when the manifest shows my prefix as such. You can debate all you want if systems should have titles at all or a more restricted list of titles, but this is the state of things.

    Women in the academy face challenges with titles. Students routinely use Dr or Prof for male instructors in higher ed, even when the man in question holds neither title. On the other hand, women routinely (incorrectly) get Miss or Ms. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that where an airline prints titles on boarding passes and manifests, employees use those titles when addressing passengers. For me, it’s not something I’d make a big deal out of in a travel context, but I’m a white man. I do correct students, and in part it’s to help prevent them from mis-titling women colleagues. I gently explain the correct titles to pick from unless they’re told otherwise by the person they’re addressing.

  27. As a Doctor myself (MD and PhD), I don’t care much if others acknowledge my credentials or not. However, anyone in the customer service industry would do well to practice tact and respect, to address an individual by their title.

    I have no concerns with the usage of Dr. on reservations as the original title of Dr. was presented to Doctors of Philosophy until the medical profession decided to follow the same title.

  28. @Mitch, makes perfect sense, if the airline offers you the option to be addressed by whatever preferred title, and it prints that on the boarding pass, their staff should fall in line. It’s a no brainer.

  29. I’m a Male Doctor and a few years ago I was called “Miss” by an Emirates Flight Attendant. She was extremely apologetic while I was just laughing it off.

  30. I’m just impressed these days if they even say my name at all! My ticket is usually just scanned, passed back and I’m told, “Have a nice day.”

  31. @Mitch is right. My boarding passes usually show “Dr” because that is what I selected in my UA profile, and it seems to propagate across reservation systems. UA FA’s stopped referring to me (and I assume to others as well) as ‘Dr” going to 2-3 years now. No biggie. My experience is that Asian airlines seem to be more particular about referring to travelers by their honorific titles. I guess the practice did not reach Asia-Pacific.

    With respect to whether this was the result of sexism, no one but the FA knows for sure. However, I believe that Dr. O’Dwyer might have been overly sensitized by repeatedly being referred to as “miss”, when, as @Mitch put it, “Students routinely use Dr or Prof for male instructors in higher ed, even when the man in question holds neither title.”

    It is still a tempest in a teapot, however…

  32. I am also a female philosophy lecturer so here’s my perspective:

    On one hand, I regularly get called Ms, Miss, Mrs by my students instead of Dr even though Dr is listed on my department profile, my email signature, and my office door. My male colleagues have said this does not regularly happen to them. So for us female academics, it does grate and we notice.

    That being said, I’m skeptical that this was anything untoward from Qantas. Most likely just a brief glance at the surname and added a ‘Ms’ out of politeness. I doubt they even noticed the title on her boarding pass.

    To sum up: I understand why she’s sensitive to this if it happens to her professionally a lot as it does to me. However, I don’t think this was deliberate in this case.

  33. @Mitch – you made a great point but I think that should be left to students being corrected and not some poor flight attendant who probably made an honest mistake anyway. I think the option of entitlement should be left out of when making reservations, stick to Mr or Ms or maybe just call the passenger by first or last name

  34. i went to university at Exeter. Many of the academics there are arrogant, so this does not surprise me…. was she even in business class?

  35. While understanding that young female academics are often treated as “not serious”, there is a difference between the university and the real world. I work at one of those universities that everyone in the world will have heard of. But as noted above, most of those of us “in the colonies” find it almost embarrassing to be called “Dr.” or “Prof.” in a venue like an airline colony. In my field, it would be thought to be outrageously pretentious to insist on it.

    The only exception in my case is that I will put “Dr.” or “Prof.” on my reservation when flying business/first on continental European or Asian airlines. I find treatment on those airlines, as a young man, actually does differ if they think you are someone other than some rich kid whose parents paid for your ticket. Nonetheless, I would never insist they use a title!

  36. Lord help us all. This world is in trouble! I feel bad for this woman that she actually stresses about these things. Sad.

  37. A few thoughts from a male MD in the US –

    Female MD’s in this country and around the world are routinely misidentified by patients and laypeople as nurses, etc. Female MD’s on rounds as the chief attending are often looked past by consultants to their junior male counterparts for final diagnosis etc. This leads them to a heightened awareness of gender inequality in our profession and to tougher and less flexible skins. Some of my worst experiences in training were with females in roles of authority particulary in male dominated specialties like surgery. But at the end of the day, women in medicine have a harder road to travel than men, bottom line.

    One more interesting observation. In my experience as a consultant, the vast majority of female MDs with whom I discuss cases refer to themselves as “Dr. X” when introducing themselves while majority of male counterparts introduce themselves with first and last names only. Women seem to be very proud of their titles and given the environment i described above, I don’t think it’s unjustified.

    But my final point is this – Non medical doctors should not identify themselves as “Dr.” in any capacity outside of their university. This could be a significant safety issue especially on a plane. Lawyers have a JD (doctor of jurisprudence) but obviously don’t identify themselves as such. I’ve seen people with PhD in Nursing run around the hospital in a white coat introducing themselves as doctor to people which is ridiculous. While women have a harder time climbing ladders in medicine and academics, at some point they need to lose a bit of the edge.

  38. Outside academia don’t expect to be called doctor for your PhD degree. It has no relevance to the outside world, and most importantly, you are not conferred a right to be called doctor by others. People like that seems really obnoxious and reeks academic elitism.

  39. When I received my first doctorate about 25 years ago, I proudly changed my title on most, if not all of my frequent traveler accounts. A few years after that, I was approached by a flight attendant to lend assistance during a medical situation and had to explain that i held an academic but not a medical doctorate. I promptly changed all of my profiles back to “Mr.”. I’ve since earned a second doctorate, and I wouldn’t even think of adding Dr. back into my profile. The only place I use the title is at a select few academic conferences and while traveling in Argentina, where lawyers (my second doctorate is a J.D., Juris Doctor/Doctor of Jurisprudence) are always referred to as El Doctor/La Doctora Surname, so there is little chance of me being confused with a medical doctor and I am just conforming with the social norms down there.

    Now, I generally just adopt my grandmother’s philosophy: you can call me anything you’d like, as long as it isn’t late for dinner.

  40. Spending 8 years in university was her choice and she cannot impose that on the whole world. Furthermore, businesses have the choice to define their own customer experience that often defines how front line employees engage with their clients.

    It is for this reason that customers are even assessed by their first names in certain hotels, restaurants, retail establishments and flights. Customers in turn have the choice to select a service provider that best meet their preferences.

    Therefore the entitled doctor should opt to fly on a private jet next time if she is so sensitive as I can’t think of any airline that has the bandwidth to put up with such idiosyncrasies. If you can’t afford a private jet then she should simply “lump it.”

    As for bringing in the gender angle it is an absolute travesty. A man could be addressed as “mister.”

  41. I’m in a bit of a muddle about this case. Usually I consider titles, even things like Mr/Mrs Surname overly formal and distancing and just prefer to be called by my given name. I could understand it in a professional context (e.g. wanting to be called Dr Surname while at a university), but if this person had complained about not being called Doctor at the local supermarket or a restaurant, it would be much more a reflection on them than some minimum wage clerk. No one demands to be called “Head Chef Bill” or “District Manager Anna” when using public services, so I’m not sure why a PhD should be any different.

    That said, Qantas (like other airlines) has an option to select one of 17 different titles such as Dr when one books their tickets on their website and so should follow though with that. A bit like if one were flying in F and the airline promises pyjamas but runs out on board. Sure, it’s minor, but if you say you’re going to do something, then you should follow through on that, major or minor.

  42. @Sung – I am a MD. Please research and you will discover that physicians only earned the title of Doctor, first given to those outside the medical field. The medical profession only adopted the title much later. So yes, holders of PhD are definitely within their right to be called a doctor.

    On top of that, why should they not demand to be recognized for their arduous contributions to knowledge? I am not saying that the way this flyer went about it was right, but certainly there is no reason for your harsh “law.” I find that your comment has a hint of insecurity.

  43. If during the flight the pilot asked whether there was a doctor on board, would she raise her hand? (And I am also a Ph.D and always tell people not call me Doctor…Mr or Professor will suffice).

  44. The majority of people who are exceptionally qualified have humility, security and experience; their qualifications are not the primary thing that they use to define themselves and their relationship with others.

  45. @Kent Miller – You misunderstand me. No one is compelled to call them doctors, and in that context, they do not have that right. If you had that right, people would be compelled by some authority or government, to call you doctor. People will call you doctor if they respect enough (be it your contributions or whatnot) outside professional/academic setting. I asked my father once why he didn’t demand or “correct” others when they addressed him as Mr. He has made a very strong point that actions are more important than titles and he never saw himself above others, as people have many different ways to contribute to society. This is one of those “fatherly advice” that I cherish to this day.
    Insecure? Funny, I never had any desire to be one. People have different interests in what type of career they want to pursue. The world doesn’t revolve around a career of being academics or doctors.

  46. In the service industry its always been either mr/sir when speaking to a male and miss/madam when speaking to a female. For example a married woman wouldn’t be addressed by mrs and a child (who’s title is usually master) also wouldn’t be addressed by master.

  47. My toalette paper worth more than her diploma. Dr? Not an MD Dr. It is a paper that she red books for 8 years. Nothing even practical. At least Dr of nursing or Dr of engineer has practical knowledge not to mention many other. Philosophy? She can answer and lecture hipotetically why some wipe their ass from top and some from bottom. Great diploma.

  48. Well.? I’m all for her ands others, we should have bender gender toilets, on board, sep seats, all be addressed by our correct titles, then the announcements, should be in several diff langs , and after the flight has not moved for several hours, the penney(sorry coin, don’t want to upset coins)may drop, so much nonsense, bit like this comment, ha ha, if this has upset anyone??? Good.

  49. I have an earned Academic doctorate and have “Dr” listed as my title on all of my Airline/Hotel accounts (it is one of the options, so why not), but I never expect to be addressed as “Doctor” by airline crew–except on Lufthansa.

  50. Increasingly in the U.S., nurses are pretending to be doctors and scamming the public. Nurse practitioners should hold their head up high and not become scam artists by pretending to be doctors (physicians) but they do. The loophole is that they get a Doctorate in Dog Walking or Doctorate in Nursing. Not the same thing.

    The one thing they can’t get is M.D. after their name (or D.O.)

  51. This reminds me of a Chemistry teacher I had in high school. Kids would refer to him as Mr. Katz and he would blast out “It’s DR. KATZ! I did not go to graduate school for X years to be called Mr.!” Anyway, I also have my doctorate, and I don’t expect people to call me Dr., nor do I get self conscious when they don’t. It’s nice when they do, but I could care less if they don’t. I think out of all airlines/hotels, Hyatt is the only one who regularly addresses me as Dr. 🙂

  52. Oh please.

    I earned a doctorate, as well (a juris doctor), and there ain’t nobody calling me “Doctor.”

    Then again, since I’m a lawyer, most people are using other titles to address me, most typically ending in “-hole.”

  53. In many Commonwealth countries surgeons (as opposed to physicians)are addressed as Mr. or Ms. and not doctor.This applies to the UK and NZ for example ( although not Australia for some reason).This dates back to when physicians had formal training in medical schools and surgeons were essentially initially trained as barbers .No bull.To make things even more confusing the word Doctor is from the Latin for Teacher , so technically a PhD may feel more justified in using it as an honorific, but by convention “Dr “is more traditionally used by the Medically trained and PhDs usually only use it in their academic lives.As a medically trained “Dr” I never use it when travelling as quite frankly it’s a bit of a w*nk to use it outside of the work environment and should there be an emergency on board I will respond as able anyway.

  54. She’s an idiot. Read about her before
    She wants EVERYONE to know


    not having or having a title doctor certainly doesn’t make you more intelligent as in her case

  55. Sounds as if this traveler has a massive chip on her shoulder. I too have a PhD, except I spent 12 years in university to earn the doctorate, compared to her 8 years. Many of my travel documents and loyalty accounts have “Dr.” on them, but I cannot recall a single time I have ever been referred to as “doctor” either on the plane, at the airport, or in a hotel. Even in Germany, where I travel once every month or two, I can’t recall a single time in years. I couldn’t care less, and even if I did care for some reason I certainly wouldn’t demonstrate my pettiness to the world by voicing outrage on social media. If the crew member’s failure to call her “doctor” must be attributed to the fact she is a woman, then what accounts for the hundreds of times I’ve simply been called “mister”? Perhaps she needs a bit more seasoning in the real world to understand that the degree warrants the appellation only within an academic setting. It seems both arrogant and needy to insist that anyone–especially someone outside of academia–use the title, and to assume its absence must be attributed to sexism (or whatever the -ism du jour happens to be convenient) is pathetic.

  56. Honestly they probably just looked at the last name and tacked in a gender specific title… which should be the most insulting! How dare the flight attendant determine her gender.

  57. @Daniel @Greg – along the same lines of work, I’m frequently addressed with innovative and flowery titles, chief amongst then being “Richard Cranium” and I correct them as “that’s Dr Richard Cranium to you.”

  58. About work/professional titles isn’t the professional titles regulated on your countries?
    So you can use it professionally to identify your profession like: Engineer, Architect, Nurse, Psychologist, Professor, Medic, etc.
    So in this case if the lady is entitled to the prefix Dr. (Doctor) let her use it, and if she missuses it she might be violating her professional Code of Ethics and may suffer consequences of proved misuse.
    Lastly she even can be usurping a title she hasn’t earned the right to use.
    Best regards to all

  59. BTW I did not forget to add on my previous post my professional entitled prefix, because this is not work/professionally related.
    ***. José
    Full member of ***** of ********** *********** number *****

  60. Obviously she’s an idiot, but the fact that there are 7000 comments on her post and you say half of them are defending her is the scarier part. We’re doomed.

  61. “…so technically a PhD may feel more justified in using it as an honorific, but by convention “Dr “is more traditionally used by the Medically trained and PhDs usually only use it in their academic lives.”

    Anyone with a doctorate degree in any field can be appropriately referred to as “doctor”. Medical doctors, which is what most people mean when they say “doctor”, should be referred to as physicians when there is ambiguity (Yes, one goes to one’s physician). Academically, PhD is ranked higher than MD due to the requirement to complete a dissertation that is original in content for a PhD, which is not a requirement for an MD.

  62. Wow, in reading through all these I’m surprised nobody brought up MD PhDs. And how come they aren’t called “doctor doctor”?

  63. Why invite passengers to select a title just to ignore it?

    Of course, if not for widespread sexism (as displayed by many of the replies to this post), it would be much easier to write off the passenger’s reaction as overblown nonsense (which it still very well could be).

  64. If I behaved like this lady, my university would most probably reach out for me and complain. She is insulting her university, her colleagues and the academic world. I bet all her professors would not accept this behavior. Saying it was not for her ego is a hard to believe me.

  65. There is an issue of sexism in the academic world but what she experienced is neither here nor there. Also it just involved someone working at an airline not a colleague.

  66. this may be the best thread ever.

    BTW I have been awarded the title of Eminence. Get with the program.

  67. Poor thing… she wanted to be a doctor for the recognition and entitlement rather than most doctors who do it for the cause.

    Sadly I know losers who introduces themselves to strangers follow by PHD…really you feel its necessary to tell everyone what a D*** you are?

  68. Total idiot. I have several advanced degrees. On my recent travel in New Zealand and Australia I have been called Dr, Madam, ma’am, Mrs and also by my first name which i thought was endearing. All were fine.

  69. I suspect the problem here is actually that on a Qantas boarding pass (and Virgin) the title comes at the end of the name not the start, and is often merged with the first name so it appears as


    Having spent some time travelling with “Hon” as their title, this often leads to some entertaining mashups.

    But guessing that all the FA saw was lastname and status and said “welcome aboard Ms…” no harm intended

  70. I once spent 3 hours of a flight on the floor of the Economy cabin tending to a patient who was having chest pains after a recent heart attack. At the end of that flight, the Purser called me “Mister” instead of “Doctor”. Do I care? Absolutely not. And REAL doctors spend a whole lot more than “8 years at University”!! This little girl needs to get over herself…

  71. I am an MD, and just this morning was finalizing a reservation with a delightful AA agent who addressed me by my first name throughout the conversation, even though my title is attached to my FF#. She was polite, gracious, and I could not give a rat’s ass about her calling me “Doctor.”
    I actually spent 13 years getting my MD and specialty training, partly in Ivy League schools, and I only expect to be addressed by my title in specific professional situations,
    This is just another self-important everyday troll looking for an excuse to be “offended,” and make a scene.

  72. I just can’t stop myself.

    Next breaking news!!!!!

    A person fell ill on a Qantas flight. The crew ask for a doctor on board. A Dr O’Dwyer responded to the call and have that person some pill saying it just a flu. The flight was not diverted as the ‘doctor’ said you don’t need to, I am late for my meeting. The person later died inflight.

    In another news.
    A Qantas flight was delayed due to some unknown reasons. Eyewitness said the Captain and First Officer was at the jet bridge to greet passengers. When a Dr O’Dwyer boarded, she said “Hello captain” to the first officer and walked pass the first officer. Few minutes later the captain tweeted.

    Hey @Siobhan_ODwyer, I am a CAPTAIN. My ID says Captain. Do not look at my ID, look at me, look back at my ID, decide it’s a typo, and call my FIRST OFFICER. I did not spend 8,000 hours in the air NOT to be called CAPTAIN.

    Later through PA announcement, the flight has mechanical problems and got delayed by 10 hours. Dr O’Dwyer missed her doctor’s appointment.

  73. Methinks this sounds like the woman Dr. who tried to enter DXB with an expired passport and then was mightily surprised and offended when she was arrested (albeit on a specious charge). What is it with these women that they are so insecure that they have to be kowtowed to at every sep?

  74. I’ve met few of these people. They wanted me to address them as Doctor when we werent anywhere near a medical center or situation. I kept replying back as Mister or Miss. I get they are proud of their accomplishments but I’m proud to say I’m a Master in Martial Arts. I dont go around telling people to call me Master. Haha!

  75. Truth is that on Qantas you will not even be addressed by name at all if you are in Economy; you will probably be greeted by the title on your BP if travelling F, and Business to some extent. The crew know from the aircraft manifest whether you are registered with the airline to assist in a medical emergency and accordingly are likely to acknowledge you on boarding. Many MD’s choose to fly ‘under the radar’ and will only respond to a PA ‘doctor-on-board’ request if no-one else puts up their hand. I assume this eager young woman would be the very first to volunteer her services, yes?

  76. I’m an MD with a PhD and an MBA. I lived and worked in the healthcare system in Australia. To the dear ‘doctor’: 1. Australians in my experience always refer to their physicians by their first name unless they are at the highest levels in which case it’s an honor to be referred to as ‘Mr. …’ or ‘Ms. ‘. This occurred throughout the state healthcare system. As an American it was surprising but a congenial aspect of relating to staff, patients and families. I liked it.
    2. You’re a PhD. I was pulled out of the immigration queue leaving Australia on a trip because my ticket referred to me as ‘Doctor …’. The official asked me what my field is and I said medicine. He said ‘Oh good. You’ve done it right. We have a terrible time with people referring to themselves as ‘Doctor’ and then being unable to assist if there’s an emergency.’
    3. Yes, you’ve worked hard. We all have. That doesn’t mean the world needs to bow down. Get over yourself and be human.
    4. You were greeted despite your bad attitude. And I’m sure your attitude made you cranky the whole trip. Be grateful for life and all it’s moments. I have plenty of patients for whom life is very difficult and very short.
    5. And just in case you don’t get this point of view—bless you. And Qantas for having to deal with you.

  77. Another person looking for their one moment of fame. Don’t fool yourself DOCTOR it is ALL about your ego!!!!

  78. Having flown QF a lot and have airline status, I think the look at status rather than “title”. I always have my name mentioned. I have boarded numerous times when I have been “Welcome back Mr XXXXXXX” whereas my companion is welcome Mr XXxxx or welcome. Depends on the flight and the crew. It is the WELCOME BACK that is nice and shows loyalty by the airline (loosely) .

    I have a title I could use, but choose not to. My choice.

    If you are that easily offended don’t us it. Imagine if someone stood on your foot on the pavement. Or would you not be complaining then? @Corporate v @Pavement

  79. Travel is Life! Extremely well put!
    This young lady needs to grow up! She spent 8 years in school but still has a lot to learn!

  80. Miss O’Dwyer seems to have some serious issues if she cares about such things. Maybe she should go to psychology doctor.

  81. James, you are very evenhanded in your writing, but I think the overwhelming consensus is that she is out of line. OMAAT comments agree by at least 10 to 1.

    I deal with MDs and PhDs professionally and socially a lot and I don’t think either title should command automatic respect as compared to other “normal” people. I think you constantly have to earn respect, regardless of past achievements.

    My wife is an MD. She dislikes being called Dr. outside of a professional setting. She thinks it is pretentious and irrelevant in daily life. Early in our relationship I was setting up a new frequent flier profile for her and selected “Dr.” as her title as a joke. She was mad at me and tried to change it, but they wouldn’t let her do it so long as she had any future reservations on the the account. Somehow we have always managed to have a future reservation. I still laugh when I book new tickets for her and see that.

  82. I’m a medical doctor and introduce myself as such only in patient interactions. Outside of that, I don’t expect anyone to call me that.

    And in all honesty, while boarding 400 people, how is anyone expected to be able to look at your name and title. This is just nonsense.

  83. Funny how the article says opinion was about 50/50, while the frequent traveler subset on this blog is overwhelmingly one sided in opinion. I agree with this pack of unentitled members of the traveling elite.

  84. My GI Doctor makes like a Mill @ work but changes the oil in his 10 cars .
    Hard worker normal like too.


  85. My frequent flyer accounts say “Dr” and I’ve flown over two million miles. No one has ever called me “doctor” and it has never occurred to me to be offended. I have taught in two graduate schools, and I understand that academic titles only really mean something in the classroom and in academia.

  86. I too, am a Doctor, with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and a 2nd in Economics. My accounts contain Dr. and I have actually always been addressed as such by the airlines I fly with – not that it matters to me in the same way I don’t care about any titles (President Trump = Mr. Trump to me). However, I do think that the service industry should be trained to deal with this frankly basic skill – even the tickets contain the honorific in them…

    …why is this even written about here??

  87. i am a male dr and have it on my boarding and FTL cards, just because the option exists and that is so on my LH and BA cards. However, i have been greeted as dr in less that 50 % of the cases, more often as mr. I personally even find it rather embarassing when LH staff greets me as Dr X and my husband as Mr Y…

  88. Doctor of Philosophy…..I am sure it is essential everyone know she is a doctor so she can help in a philiosophical emergency.

    It should say *NOT A REAL* Doctor

  89. @DCS I’m not sure you understood my post.Nothing I said contradicted what you have written.I was talking about the general conventional use of the honorific in Commonwealth countries ,not anyone’s “right” to call oneself doctor.Legally anyone can call themselves Doctor (degree or not)as long as there is no intention to defraud.You obviously don’t hold a doctorate in any discipline, or at least not in the English language.

  90. @A guy who can actually help in an emergency

    Actually, being a medical physician, I’d rather have the option to select physician on my profile. Medical physicians should not be called doctors in my opinion since we don’t contribute towards novel research or a dissertation. Also, it helps to distinguish my role from those with a PhD – unless they have earned a MD-PhD like my wife. Generally speaking, basic life saving skills are all that are needed in flight and many are trained.

  91. If they are going to make you enter a title, and they do, they should use the one given. Otherwise they are starting down the line of a bunch of assumptions that can be quite offensive – as shown here.

    One issue is the assumption that if she was not doctor, as listed on her boarding pass she must be ‘miss’. At least try Ms. Whether I am married or not is none of your business, and miss as a diminutive is often used to put down women. Even if it was not the case here, women have a right to reject the title and its sexist baggage.

    I would rather they just call me by my first name, but if they insist on titles, I insist on the right one.

    Doctor comes from the latin for teacher. It is medical doctors who have acquired the term from teaching PhDs. Medical doctors would have been Medicus.

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