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When you are welcomed on board, the Swiss turn to an inclusive language

When you are welcomed on board, the Swiss turn to an inclusive language


It’s ‘ladies and gentlemen’ day: the Swiss are turning to the inclusive language – on the plane too

The airline says goodbye to traditional unisex combinations. Contacts have been updated. Passengers will hear that, too.

Swiss cabin crew will word the salutation on board differently in the future.

Christian Butler / Keystone

It’s the reassuring moment when you know: The annoying security and check-in procedures are over, the flight seat has been found and will soon be retired. Then when you say, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard our flight.” “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome on board.”

But this formula is outdated with more and more airlines such as EasyJet or Japan Airlines. Because it is not exhaustive: it is limited to the traditional names of men and women. So people from the LGBTQI+ community with different sexual orientation or gender identities are not considered. Several years ago, on board Air Canada or Delta Air Lines, the greeting was: “Hello everyone.”

rainbow flag on social media

Now the Swiss are also reacting: “We are currently converting all communications into an inclusive language,” says company spokesperson Marco Lieb. “Gender-friendly language for advertisements will also be introduced on board.” However, it is still not clear what the new wording is. Details are still being worked out, says Lieb. The exact time of the change is also not specified.

In terms of internal and external communications, a change has already been moved forward, at the beginning of June, which the LGBTQI+ movement celebrates as “Pride” month. Among other things, Swiss has added a rainbow flag to its logo on social media – as a sign of support for the LGBTQI+ community.

Internally, Swiss informed employees that, among other things, the two points will be used – the word “colleague” becomes a new colleague, and the customer becomes a customer. In addition, the decision to switch was made for the entire Lufthansa group.

“We warmly welcome this change,” says Sandrine Nikolic Voss, president of the Kapers Cabin Crew Union. Change is not a problem at all. “On the contrary, we have strongly advocated this internal change in the past, after all, our staff also includes many people from the LGBTQI+ community.”

Consequences of the reservation process

Lieb says change continues. “Documents, forms and other materials are adapted step by step.” It is not yet possible to determine the consequences of this for drafting on tickets and in reservations. On the other hand, the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘they’ are clearly not used. In English, it has established itself as a gender-neutral pronoun for people who are not defined as “he” or “she”.

In 2019, Switzerland received the Swiss LGBTQI+ certification for its working conditions. For example, all kinds of partnerships are equal and there is an internal LGBTQI+ network.