Japan Airlines (JAL) will not be using ladies and gentlemen to greet the passengers. Instead, it will be using phrases such as attention to all passengers and welcome everyone. This will be effective from October 1 on flights and in all the airports.
However, it is now among the few airlines around the world to embrace such a policy. Reportedly, this will be applicable to only English announcements as of now. This is because, in Japanese, the expression is usually gender-neutral while using it for such announcements.
Yutaro Iwasaki, a publicist for JAL, says 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. As it announced it would give female flight attendants the option to wear trousers instead of skirts in order to be more comfortable on board.
Hiring Female Pilots
However, gender equality does not stop here at JAL. The airline’s subsidiary, JAL Express has Japan’s first-ever female commercial air pilot.
Ari Fuji, the female pilot received her pilot’s license in the United States. Then after returning to her native country, JAL admitted her to their 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.
Other Airlines Following the Suit
However, more airlines around the world are making gender equality a priority. But, Japan Airlines is the first Asian airline to adopt this practice.
Moreover, in 2019 Air Canada also switched from ladies and gentlemen to the more inclusive everybody when addressing the 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.