British Airways has become the latest airline to replace their traditional greeting with a gender-neutral alternative
The UK’s flag carrier has instructed its pilots and cabin crew to stop addressing passengers as ladies and gentlemen, keeping the greetings gender-neutral in an effort to promote ‘diversity and inclusion’.
The change in policy has been made to avoid discriminating against the passengers who do not fall under either of the two categories, such as children, as well as “to respect new social norms,” according to the Telegraph.
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British Airways has not yet specified exactly what term they would like staff to use when addressing their passengers. One critic has argued that since the traditional polite greeting is no longer going to be used, maybe a tinge of familiarity might be the best option and tweeted a suggestion: ‘Oi, you lot’ sounds so much better,”
RT reports: The announcement did not go down well with conservative-leaning commentators. Some went as far as to declare the carrier’s decision to dump the phrase, long seen as a standard and polite form of address, an “attack” on the British national character.
“It’s an attack on everything we are,” Laurence Fox, actor and leader of UK’s Reclaim party, tweeted. Lockdown sceptic and Brexit supporter Fox ran in the London mayoral elections earlier this year, receiving less than 2% of the popular vote.
“When will this ridiculousness end?” another conservative Brexit supporter tweeted, while yet another blasted the British flag carrier for turning into “Woke Airways.”
While passengers boarding a British Airways flight will no longer hear “ladies and gentlemen,” it’s unclear how the air travellers will be addressed going forward, with The Telegraph reporting that “BA has traditionally encouraged its pilots to bring their own personalities into onboard announcements.”
Quick-witted netizens wasted no time in coming up with more or less appropriate greetings of their own. A self-professed “transport enthusiast” suggested eschewing courtesies and just call those boarding the plane “passengers, nothing more, nothing less.”
“We are paying for our passage. Irrespective of what cabin we are sitting in. ‘We would like to welcome passengers aboard this…’“ very simple, nobody needs to get upset,” the user tweeted.