Japan Airlines (JAL) will be dropping “ladies and gentlemen” in favor of more inclusive greetings like “attention all passengers” and “welcome, everyone” from October 1 on flights and in airports worldwide.
Yutaro Iwasaki, publicist for JAL, told CNN Travel that “we have been promoting diversity in the community since 2014, and this is one of our actions taken to treat everyone (the same) regardless of gender.”
Before this, the Tokyo-based airline’s most recent move for gender parity was in March 2020, when it announced it would give female flight attendants the option to wear trousers instead of skirts in order to be more comfortable on board.
That isn’t the only positive step toward gender equality at JAL, though. The airline’s subsidiary, JAL Express, can claim Japan’s first-ever female commercial air pilot.
Ari Fuji got her pilot’s license in the United States and then returned to her native country when she was accepted into JAL’s pilot training program. She was hired in 2019, shattering a tremendous glass ceiling.
The under-representation of female pilots is not exclusively a Japanese problem, though. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN Specialized Agency, estimates that about 5% of total pilots around the world are women.
Gender-inclusive language is becoming a priority for more airlines around the world. JAL is the first Asian airline to adopt this practice.
In 2019, Air Canada announced that it would switch from “ladies and gentlemen” to the more inclusive “everybody” when addressing passengers.
Later that year, European low-cost carrier easyJet said that it had “provided guidance” to employees about how to use inclusive terminology on board following a spate of social media complaints.