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Japan Airlines to scrap 'ladies and gentlemen' flight announcements

A Japan Airlines Co. ground staff member is seen making an announcement at Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, on Sept. 26, 2020. (Mainichi/Tadakazu Nakamura)

TOKYO -- Japan Airlines Co. (JAL) will stop using the phrase "ladies and gentlemen" when making English announcements in airports and airplanes at the end of September.

    The decision was made "to avoid alienating sexual minority customers," since the phrase leaves out LGBT people and others who do not identify as male or female. JAL will introduce new ways to address passengers from Oct. 1.

    The phrase, based on a company manual, was always used at the beginning of English announcements made during boarding, descent and when onboard services start, both on international and domestic flights used by foreign passengers. It was also used when ground staff announced the boarding time at the boarding gate.

    JAL decided to implement a "diversity declaration" in 2014, and has been making efforts to create an environment where various staff members -- regardless of their sex, age, nationality, race, religion, disabilities, sexual orientation, gender identity or other statuses -- can actively work. Changes will be made to the phrase as well as the manual as part of its efforts.

    From October, all flight attendants will start to use "good morning" "good afternoon" or "good evening" followed by "everyone" or say, "attention, all passengers." Ground staff will use similar phrases.

    The phrase "ladies and gentlemen" was scrapped by subways in New York and London as it excludes non-binary people.

    All Nippon Airways Co., which also uses the same phrase in airline announcements, explained it will consider what to do "based on customers' opinions and other factors."

    (Japanese original by Tadakazu Nakamura, Narita Bureau)

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