United is now the first U.S. airline to give customers non-binary gender options while booking their flights, the carrier announced Friday.
“United is excited to share with our customers, whether they identify along the binary of male or female or not, that we are taking the steps to exhibit our care for them while also providing additional employee training to make us even more welcoming for all customers and employees,” United’s Chief Customer Officer Toby Enqvist said in a statement.
The airline has worked with LGBTQ organizations The Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project on training employees in conjunction with these updates. Such training includes the use of preferred pronouns.
“By providing non-binary gender selection for ticketing and the gender-inclusive honorific ‘Mx’ in user profiles, United Airlines is taking an important step forward for non-binary inclusion,” Beck Bailey, acting director of the Workplace Equality Program at the Human Rights Campaign, added in the same statement.
United’s announcement comes after two big trade groups – Airlines for America (A4A) in the USA and the global International Air Transport Association (IATA) – recently approved a new international best-practices standard that suggests accommodation for travelers using “non-binary IDs.”
The suggested standard would create an option for “unspecified” or “undisclosed” for passengers booking tickets. That option would be in addition to the options for “male” or “female.”
This standard was said to become effective June 1, but it was up to individual airlines to make the option available to their booking platforms.
The nation’s five biggest U.S. airlines – American, Delta, United, Southwest and Alaska airlines – all previously told USA TODAY that they plan to implement the trade groups’ suggestion.
USA TODAY has reached out to other major U.S. airlines for comment on their respective timelines in implementing a non-binary option.
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Contributing: Ben Mutzabaugh