Remember that video of United Airlines dragging a bloodied Vietnamese doctor of a flight?
That was a PR nightmare for the company, but now they have good news - they've totally purged their reputation of any negativity by offering... gender neutral boarding options?
“Welcome aboard, Mx.”
On Friday, United Airlines announced that it will now be offering non-binary gender options “throughout all booking channels,” allowing travelers to identify as male, female, undisclosed or unspecified, and also providing the option of “Mx.” alongside Mr. and Ms. in user profiles, according to a press release.
The changes come just over a month after several major U.S. carriers confirmed they would conform to a new standard suggested by two trade groups – Airlines for America and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – by June 1.
"United is determined to lead the industry in LGBT inclusivity, and we are so proud to be the first U.S. airline to offer these inclusive booking options for our customers," said Toby Enqvist, United Airlines’ chief customer officer, in a press release. "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."
United also confirmed its employees are being trained to better serve all passengers, including its LGBTQ travelers, by learning about “preferred pronouns and the persistence of gender norms,” among other issues. The airline worked alongside the Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project – the latter of which is an organization that offers crisis intervention services to LGBTQ youth – to design its training initiatives.
“Alongside partner organizations, customers, and employees, United will continue working to build the world's most inclusive airline,” United’s press release reads.
Airlines for America and IATA’s suggested standard aims to make it easy for airlines to comply with requirements under U.S. and foreign laws that passenger information must match what is on the person’s form of ID used for travel.
United, American, Southwest, Alaska and Delta have already agreed to adopt the new standard, USA Today confirmed in February.
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Photo of life in 2019 by Getty Images