United Airlines has become the first major US airline to introduce non-binary options on its booking forms.
The airline announced on Friday (March 22) that in addition to ‘male’ and ‘female’ booking options, customers will now also be able to pick either U (Undisclosed) or X (Unspecified), corresponding with markers available on passports and IDs in some areas.
Customers will also be able to use the gender-neutral ‘Mx’ title.
United Airlines ‘will train staff on preferred pronouns’
United also announced partnerships with LGBT+ rights groups Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and The Trevor Project to provide training to staff on “preferred pronouns and the persistence of gender norms.”
United chief customer officer Toby Enqvist said: “United is determined to lead the industry in LGBT inclusivity, and we are so proud to be the first US airline to offer these inclusive booking options for our customers.
“United is excited to share with our customers, whether they identify along the binary of male or female or not, that we are taking the steps to exhibit our care for them while also providing additional employee training to make us even more welcoming for all customers and employees.”
Beck Bailey of HRC said: “At the Human Rights Campaign, we believe being acknowledged as the gender you identify with is part of treating everyone with dignity and respect.
“By providing non-binary gender selection for ticketing and the gender-inclusive honorific ‘Mx’ in user profiles, United Airlines is taking an important step forward for non-binary inclusion.”
Amit Paley of The Trevor Project added: “The Trevor Project is grateful for United Airlines’ support of our life-saving work on behalf of LGBTQ youth.
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“We are thrilled to bring Trevor’s expertise on the mental health of LGBTQ people to United to ensure its employees maintain safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ employees and guests.”
US airlines agreed new industry standard to support non-binary people
The change is expected to be mirrored by many other major US airlines in the coming months, after the Airlines for America trade association comprised of the nation’s largest airlines agreed a new industry standard to end the practice of forcing passengers to pick between ‘male’ or ‘female’ on booking forms.
The new standard comes into effect from June 1, though it will be up to each airline to update their individual booking platforms.
Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines are among the companies who form Airlines for America.
Delta Air Lines is not part of the grouping but has confirmed it will also introduce the change.
Delta confirmed: “As part of Delta’s ongoing efforts to accommodate the needs of diverse customers throughout our business, we are planning to offer a non-binary gender option during the booking process.”
British Airways and Air New Zealand are among other airlines who have said they will offer extra gender options.
A British Airways spokesperson confirmed last month: “We know how important it is for all of our customers to feel comfortable and welcome no matter how they self-identify.
“We are working to change our booking platform to reflect this.”