‘Ladies and gentlemen’ a phrase of the past on board some Canadian airlines


TORONTO — Several Canadian airlines have scrubbed the phrase “ladies and gentlemen” from their in-flight announcements — or are considering making the change — replacing the gendered language with non-binary terminology as part of a broader shift toward corporate inclusivity.

Air Transat says it has stopped using the salutation — and its French equivalent, “Mesdames et messieurs.” Air Canada says it will do likewise, amending its on-board announcements “to modernize them and remove specific references to gender.”

WestJet Airlines Ltd. and Sunwing Airlines Inc. still include the time-worn phrase in their in-flight announcements, but say they are mulling a change.

In February, major U.S. airlines said they would change their ticketing process so that passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines — such as an X for unspecified or a U for undisclosed — representing a victory for advocates of transgender recognition.

Canadian officials followed their U.S. counterparts in June, permitting travellers to choose gender designations outside the traditional “male” and “female” categories on their passports and identification documents.

While some observers warn against so-called woke-washing, which refers to adopting the latest progressive attitude as a marketing strategy, York University linguistics professor Sheila Embleton calls the change “a logical step” in the march toward equity and inclusion, and “just part of wanting people to feel more welcome.”


Companies in this story: (TSX:TRZ, TSX:AC, TSX:WJA)


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