Major Airlines Are Now Banning Pilots From Doing This

A familiar part of flying is headed for the history books thanks to new standards.

Commercial airline passengers know they can expect certain long-standing features of a typical flight, from flight attendants' safety demonstrations to air sickness bags in seatback pockets. But one seemingly timeless element of the in-flight experience is undergoing a change—and that means the next time you get on a plane, you might notice something different. Read on to find out what airline pilots are being banned from doing across the aviation industry, and why the shift is happening now.

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British Airways is the latest airline to ban pilots from addressing passengers as "ladies and gentlemen."

pilot talking on his radio

You've heard it many times over the years as you've settled in to your flight: "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking…" But you might not hear that message on some future trips—or possibly ever again.

That's because airline pilots across multiple airlines are being asked not to address passengers in the cabin as "ladies and gentlemen" as a way of making these announcements more inclusive.

In order to create an environment that reflects the diversity of the passengers in the cabin, British Airways is the latest airline that's asking pilots to use gender-neutral terms when addressing them, The Telegraph reports. The move is meant to tweak the announcements so they're inclusive of both the children onboard the aircraft, as well as new social norms around gender for people of any age. The move would bring the in-flight announcements in line with the standard already used in airports. 

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This change is part of an overall move toward diversity and inclusion in the industry.

two pilots in the cockpit during sunset

A spokesperson for British Airways told The Telegraph, "We celebrate diversity and inclusion and we're committed to ensuring that all our customers feel welcome when traveling with us." Up until this point, the airline had encouraged pilots to introduce their own personalities when addressing passengers for a less-standardized approach to onboard announcements.

Many major airlines are now using gender-neutral greetings.

an airplane parked right outside of an airport terminal

British Airways' change brings it in line with an array of other major airlines already making a push for gender-neutral greetings, as CNN reported. These include Lufthansa, EasyJet, Air Canada, Japanese airline JAL, and Air Malta, which just last month announced its pilots would steer clear of gendered terms. Instead, pilots and flight attendants will begin messages with "attention, all passengers."

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Lufthansa said its change comes from having diversity and equality as core values.

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Per CNN, when Lufthansa made its announcement this summer, the airline said that travelers could expect to be greeted as "guests." Or they might simply hear a message from the cockpit like, "Good morning here on board."

"Diversity and equality are core values for our company and our corporate culture," Lufthansa wrote in a statement. "From now on, we want to express this attitude in our language as well, and show that diversity is not just a phrase, but a lived reality."

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Alesandra Dubin
Alesandra Dubin is a lifestyle editor and writer based in Los Angeles. Read more
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