Fly Buddies? British Airways to Drop ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ Greetings to Promote Diversity

© Flickr / Peter RussellBritish Airways A380-841 G-XLED
British Airways A380-841 G-XLED - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.10.2021
The move follows that of other major airlines, including Lufthansa, easyJet and Air Canada, who have already got rid of the traditional greetings in order to create what the companies describe as a comfortable and respectful space for everyone.
British Airways (BA) has advised pilots and cabin crew to no longer use the traditional "ladies and gentlemen" when making announcements to passengers in order to promote "diversity and inclusion" for its customers, The Telegraph reported.
According to the outlet, the flag carrier has told employees to use gender-neutral greetings in line with those that are being used at airports, as it is keen to make children feel included and to respect the new social norms.

"We celebrate diversity and inclusion and we're committed to ensuring that all our customers feel welcome when travelling with us", a spokesperson for BA told the outlet.

Sir Martin Sorrell, founder of the world’s largest advertising company WPP, said issues like traditional greetings no longer remain a priority for airline customers.

"Whether that’s fortunate or unfortunate, it’s a sign of the times. The important thing is not the announcements, it's the food, the Wi-Fi, the service, the speed of getting on the plane and getting off the plane", he said.

However, opinion polls appear to suggest the contrary. According to a survey conducted for the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) think tank this July, only 9 percent of respondents believe it is important to speak out on social issues that matter in Britain, with 45 percent of respondents saying businesses should avoid taking stances on political and social matters.
Social media users also seemed unhappy about BA's new policy.

Some netizens suggested that the company needs to fix other issues to make customers feel welcomed, and contended that the decision to use gender-neutral greetings will tarnish the airline’s image.

As mentioned earlier, BA’s move follows that of other airlines. The staff of Air Canada has been addressing its customers during on board announcements as "everybody" or "tout le mond" (the French equivalent of "everyone"). British Airways did not mention how it plans to address its customers, but according to The Telegraph, the company "has traditionally encouraged its pilots to bring their own personalities into onboard announcements".

Social media users have offered suggestions on how BA should address its customers.
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