In what is being considered a major step forward for non-binary citizens in the United States, five major US airlines including Delta, JetBlue, United and American Airlines will soon allow passengers to book their tickets while listing their gender as 'unspecified'.
The changes are set to come into effect at the beginning of June, with two of the industry's biggest trade groups – Airlines for America (A4A) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) - agreeing on a new standard of practice that no longer requires passengers to select either 'male' or 'female'.
“U.S. airlines value a culture of diversity and inclusion, both in the workplace and for our passengers, and we work hard each day to accommodate the needs of all travelers, while delivering a safe, secure and enjoyable flight experience,” Airlines for America told USA TODAY.
In a joint statement, participating airlines welcomed the changes, with a representative from Delta saying: “As part of Delta’s ongoing efforts to accommodate the needs of diverse customers throughout our business, we are planning to offer a non-binary gender option during the booking process."
A spokesperson for United Airlines added: “As part of our commitment to inclusion, we want to ensure all of our customers feel comfortable and welcome no matter how they self-identify, which is why we will begin offering our customers the ability to select the gender with which they most closely identify during the booking process.
“Beginning in the coming weeks, customers will be able to identify themselves as M(ale), F(emale), U(undisclosed) or X(unspecified), corresponding to what is indicated on their passports or ID. Also, customers who do not identify with a gender will have the option of selecting ‘Mx.’ as a title."
The airlines are believed to have worked with the Human Rights Campaign to develop their new guidelines.