With a number of states allowing individuals to register their gender under a nonbinary status, the airline industry is likewise adjusting its flight-booking terminology beyond “male” and “female.”
As the public perception of gender changes, so too will the airline industry—in a small, but significant way.
According to The Daily Beast, airline industry groups—including Airlines for America (A4A) and the International Air Transport Association—are working to have their members implement a new international standard for gender identification for air travelers. Alongside the traditional “male” and “female” options for booking, there will be additional options for “unspecified” and “undisclosed,” effectively making room for nonbinary passengers.
The publication reports that all of the major U.S. airlines are on board with this plan, including Delta, which left A4A more than three years ago.
The move comes at a time when traditional state ID cards, such as driver’s licenses, are increasingly making room for nonbinary options as well. Currently, five states and the District of Columbia allow those who don’t identify as male or female to identify with the letter “X” rather than “M” or “F.” A4A cited the use of these identity cards as part of the reason it made the shift.
“[We’re] committed to making these changes to their reservation processes to account for nonbinary IDs while ensuring continued compliance with U.S. and foreign government requirements that passenger data match the identification used for travel,” an A4A spokesperson told the publication.
But A4A emphasized that shifting state laws weren’t the only factor at play in the decision.
“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 deliver a safe, secure, and enjoyable flight for all travelers,” the spokesperson added.
The issue came to a head last fall, after LGBTQ publication Into noted that there appeared to be little consideration of the rise of nonbinary IDs by the airline industry, despite no apparent legal precedent against it. One exception? The Transportation Security Administration, which noted that it would accept any gender on a government-issued ID.