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Lufthansa will no longer address you as ‘ladies and gentlemen’

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The German carrier is doing away with its traditional onboard salutation. The airline group has come up with a list of alternative greetings to ensure that passengers remain in good humor.

“Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, herzlich willkommen an Bord” and its English translation, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome on board,” will soon be things of the past on Lufthansa flights.

The German flag carrier plans to use gender-neutral language. The change would apply to all airlines operated by the Lufthansa Group, including Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Eurowings.

Diversity isn’t just an empty phrase, but is a reality for Lufthansa, Anja Stenger, the company’s spokeswoman, told DW. “Starting now, we also want to express this attitude in our language,” she said.

According to the German news DW, Lufthansa crews would now use gender-neutral phrases such as “Dear guests,” “Good morning/evening” or simply “Welcome on board.” The decision on how to address passengers will ultimately be made by the crew, who were informed about the change in May. The change is effective immediately.

“This move works at a symbolic level. It can be considered as a ‘gender-sensitive’ step through which the gender binary is questioned,” Alexandra Scheele, an expert on sociology and economy at the Bielefeld University, told DW. “People who identify themselves beyond male/female, as well as everyone who is questioning the binary systems, might be addressed better without using the phrase ‘ladies and gentlemen/Damen und Herren.”

What is gender-neutral language?

Lufthansa’s move comes as more and more corporations and organizations embrace measures promoting gender inclusiveness.

Several organizations, such as the United Nations and the European Commission, have adopted guidelines for the use of nongendered language as part of their efforts.

The European Institute for Gender Equality defines gender-neutral language as “language that is not gender-specific and which considers people in general, with no reference to women and men.”

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