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US-American airlines offering ‘gender-neutral’ booking option

US-American airlines offering ‘gender-neutral’ booking option

Great news for passengers who do not identify as male or female, and thus as non-binary or genderqueer! Several major US-American airlines, including Delta (partner of KLM), JetBlue, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and American Airlines, as well as Southwest, are planning to offer a Gender Neutral Booking Option during the future booking process of an airline ticket. In addition to the male and female gender options, there are said to be two other categories. The action was confirmed by the trade association Airlines For America and is scheduled to be a requirement from June 1st, 2019 on. More about the great news here on Couple of Men.

by Sarah Tekath

Ein Flugzeug vor einem knallig bunten Regenbogen | US Airlines Gender Neutral Buchungsoption ©
An Airplane in front of a colorful Rainbow | US Airlines Gender Neutral Booking Option

Future booking options U for undisclosed & X for unspecified

In addition to the possibility of identifying as male or female when booking a ticket, the options U for undisclosed (‘ not called ‘) or X for unspecified (‘ no further specified ‘) should also be available in the future. This eliminates the necessary identification as a man or woman when booking a ticket of the aforementioned airlines. A spokesperson for Airlines For America told The Daily Beast: “U.S. airlines value a culture of diversity and inclusion, both in the workplace and for passengers. We work hard every day to meet the needs of all travelers […].”

Zwischenlandung auf dem Seattle Airport | US Airlines Gender Neutral Buchungsoption ©
Layover at Seattle International Airport | US Airlines Gender Neutral Booking Option ©

Adapting to American IDs sill necessary

Currently, it is only possible in five states of the United States of America to have an X entered in the part on the ID which is meant for the information F (female, i.e. for women) or M (male, i.e. for men).  The current 5 states where this option applies are Oregon, California, Colorado, Arkansas, Minnesota, and Washington. Since the data on the plane ticket must match those in the identity card or passport, and also due to the increasing number of people who take advantage of the opportunity not to have to identify as male or female, the above-mentioned US-American airlines now follow and complement further gender opportunities in their systems.

Mit Delta Airlines von Amsterdam in die USA | US Airlines Gender Neutral Buchungsoption ©
With Delta Airlines from Amsterdam to the USA | US Airlines Gender Neutral Booking Option ©

Gender-neutral booking option: Changes are left to the US Airlines

The changes become effective by 1st June 2019, but they are not mandatory for the airlines to implement in their systems. Thus, it is up to each airline to adapt its booking systems accordingly. Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, and United Airlines are among members of the Airlines For America association that have opted for the changes. Even though Delta Air Lines is no longer a member of the A4A, the airline announced it will also adjust its systems.

Photo source: © Karl Krause & Daan Colijn
News sources: Chicago TribuneNew York TimesGay Times | Pink News | The Daily Beast

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Our Experiences with US-American airlines

So far, our experience with US Airlines has focused on Delta Airlines, which as a partner airline shares many connections with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. So far, we have been able to report exclusively positive experiences with Delta as well as with KLM. The flights are mostly overtime (apart from weather-related delays), the luggage always comes along, and the crew has a smile back for every smile. Both airlines are part of SkyTeam also including European airlines such as Air France, Transavia, Air Europa, Czech Airlines, and Alitalia. We welcome the decision of the mentioned US Airlines and hope that this will soon be possible in Europe.