Air Canada has parted with tradition by dropping “ladies and gentlemen” or the French “mesdames et messieurs” when greeting passengers aboard its aircraft, in a major change to the carrier’s protocols.
Instead, crew have been ordered to use gender-neutral greetings such as “good morning everybody” in a bid to spare the feelings of gender fluid passengers. A company memo stated, “we want to ensure an inclusive space for everyone, including those who identify with gender X.”
The change in language will be adopted by gate agents, flight attendants and pilots.
“We will be amending our on-board announcements to modernise them and remove specific references to gender,” an airline spokesperson said, according to CTV News Montreal.
“We work hard to make sure all employees feel like valued members of the Air Canada family while ensuring our customers are comfortable and respected when they choose to travel with us.”
Air Canada’s move to embrace “inclusive language” follows a court decision in August ordering it to compensate a French-speaking couple who claimed the airline “violated their linguistic rights” by making announcements they said favored the English language over French.
As Breitbart News reported, Judge Martine St-Louis granted them CAD$21,000 ($15,800) — CAD$1,500 per complaint — and ordered the airline to send the couple a formal letter of apology.
“Air Canada has not upheld its linguistic obligations,” said the judge, pointing to the Canadian constitution which requires equal weight be given to English and French — the country’s two official languages — in certain situations.
The Thibodeaus said some signs on their domestic flight, such as “exit,” were only in English or with French text that was much smaller, suggesting an imbalance in importance between the two languages.
They also noted that instructions printed on the seatbelt buckles only said “lift” in English.
The couple were particularly upset by the boarding announcement for the Montreal-bound flight.
The Thibodeaus timed the English version of the speech to run to exactly 15 seconds and, according to them, it was much more thorough than the five-second French announcement, a gesture which offended their francophone sensibilities.