US airlines to offer gender-neutral booking options for non-binary passengers

US airlines: File photo. A plane is seen next to a rainbow

Major US airlines including Delta, JetBlue, United and American Airlines have agreed to allow passengers to book tickets without specifying a binary gender.

The Airlines for America trade association has agreed a new industry standard which will end the practice of forcing passengers to pick between “male” or “female” on booking forms.

An “unspecified” option will be added, in line with the five US states that already offer a gender X marker on state IDs for non-binary people.

Passengers will be offered gender ‘X’ option on US airlines

A spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Beast that the airlines had “recently approved a new international standard that will allow for ‘unspecified’ and ‘undisclosed’ as options in addition to ‘male’ or ‘female’.”

The changes will “account for non-binary IDs while ensuring continued compliance with U.S. and foreign government requirements that passenger data match the identification used for travel.”

A statement added: “U.S. airlines value a culture of diversity and inclusion, both in the workplace and for our passengers.

“We work hard each day to accommodate the needs of all travellers while delivering a safe, secure and enjoyable flight experience.”

An American Airlines jet is seen in the air preparing to land September 3, 2004 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in Rosemont, Illinois.

An American Airlines jet is seen in the air preparing to land September 3, 2004 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in Rosemont, Illinois. (Tim Boyle/Getty)

The change will come into effect from June 1, however it will be up to each airline to update their individual booking platforms.

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines are among the companies who form Airlines for America, while Delta Air Lines is not part of the grouping but has confirmed it will also introduce the change.

US airlines: Customers should feel welcome no matter how they self-identify

Delta confirmed: “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 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.

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“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.

“We are excited to share this next step as we continue to break down barriers to promote inclusion. We have worked with the Human Rights Campaign for our guidelines in enhancing this customer experience and to include all of United’s customers in the booking process.”

The five states that currently offer gender X IDs are Arkansas, California, Colorado, Minnesota and Oregon, plus the District of Columbia.

New York City also allows residents to select a third gender option on their state IDs.

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