Japan Airlines abolishes use of “ladies and gentlemen” in English for sake of sexual minorities

soranews24.com -- Sep 29
Japan’s second-largest airline, Japan Airlines (also known as JAL), has announced a change in its customer service policies that will be taking effect soon.

The change isn’t related to air travel complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic, however, but instead is part of the company’s continuing diversity initiative.

As specified in JAL’s 2014 Diversity Declaration, the carrier aims to provide a welcoming environment for passengers regardless of their gender, age, nationality, ethnicity, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. In the latest measure of the program, JAL is the abolishing the use of the term “ladies and gentlemen” by its flight crews and airport ground staff when addressing passengers in English.

JAL says the change is being made “in order to avoid making sexual minority passengers feel uncomfortable.” Previously, passengers have been addressed as “ladies and gentlemen” not only on JAL’s international flights, but also on within-Japan domestic routes for which English-language announcements were given, generally if non-Japanese travelers were on the passenger list.

Instead of “ladies and gentlemen” JAL travelers can expect to be addressed with “everyone” ( such as “Good afternoon, everyone”) or “all passengers” (“Attention, all passengers”).

No changes are being made to Japanese-language announcements, as in Japanese travelers are already referred to with non-gendered terms such as okyaku-sama (“customers”), mina-sama (“everyone”), or ryokaku no mina-sama (“all passengers”).

JAL will be implementing the change as of October 1. Rival All Nippon Airways/ANA, Japan’s largest airline, has said that it is currently considering a similar change, depending on customer feedback.

- soranews24.com