Ladies and gentlemen, EasyJet is changing its tune.
The budget airline is encouraging its employees to address customers with gender-neutral language in lieu of its traditional “ladies and gentlemen” greeting in order to create a more "friendly and inclusive" atmosphere, the carrier confirmed.
Last week, reports surfaced that the company recently instructed flight crews to instead say "welcome everyone" in a bid to foster a more “inclusive and welcoming” atmosphere for non-binary and transgender individuals. The change comes after a professor in the U.K. called out the airline on social media over the summer, Metro reports.
“Dear EasyJet, are you in some kind of competition to see how many times you can reinforce gender binaries? ‘Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls’, perfume strictly [segregated] again by ‘ladies and gentlemen.’ Ditch sir/madam too,” Dr. Andi Fugard of the University of London, Birbeck tweeted in August. “An organization as huge as yours must do better.”
In reply, an airline representative named Hanna told Fugard that the carrier has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and that the airline itself works at "connecting people," rather than dividing them.
“At EasyJet we do not discriminate against any individual — passengers or staff members. We are a pan-European airline with the aim of connecting people of all nationalities across Europe so there is certainly no room in our organization for discrimination of any kind,” Hanna wrote.
Now, the airline’s pilots and cabin crew have been told to say "welcome everyone" in lieu of “ladies and gentlemen” to make for a more “inclusive and welcoming” travel experience, per Metro.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for the airline offered Fox News the following statement:
“We want our crew to be welcoming to everyone onboard and so have provided some guidance to them of how to best do that in a way that is inclusive for everyone," a rep said on Monday. The EasyJet staffer further specified that the airline has not "ditched" or "banned" the use of the phrase "ladies and gentlemen," but rather “provided guidance on how to welcome all customers in a friendly and inclusive way.”
In related headlines, Air Canada also nixed its traditional “ladies and gentlemen” greeting for the gender-neutral term “everybody” in October. And last week, American Airlines introduced nonbinary booking options for customers, perhaps inspired by United Airlines, which, in March, became the first carrier in the U.S. to offer non-binary gender booking options for customers to use through all booking channels.