Lufthansa slammed for adopting gender-neutral greetings for passengers: 'World gone mad'

Lufthansa crews, per reports, will now use gender-neutral phrases such as 'Dear guests,' or 'Good morning/evening,' or 'Welcome on board'

                            Lufthansa slammed for adopting gender-neutral greetings for passengers: 'World gone mad'
Lufthansa passenger planes dock at Frankfurt International Airport January 16, 2003 in Frankfurt, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Europe's largest airline group Lufthansa announced that it was retiring “Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, herzlich willkommen an Bord,” which translates to “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome on board,” as an on-board greeting in favour of gender-neutral alternatives. The change would apply to all airlines operated by the Lufthansa Group, including Austrian Airlines, Swiss Air, and Eurowings.

Lufthansa crews, per reports, will now use gender-neutral phrases such as "Dear guests," or "Good morning/evening," or "Welcome on board" to address onboard passengers. The decision on how to address passengers on board will ultimately be made by the crew, who were informed about the change in May. The change is effective immediately. 


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Passenger planes of German airliner Lufthansa stand parked and not in use at Willy Brandt Berlin Brandenburg International Airport during the coronavirus crisis on April 28, 2020 in Schoenefeld, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)


A spokesman for the German airliner told Agence France-Presse the move was intended to make all passengers on board feel welcome, including those who do not identify as male or female. Anja Stenger, the company's spokeswoman, told Deutsche Welle that Diversity isn't just an empty phrase, but is a reality for Lufthansa, adding, "Starting now, we also want to express this attitude in our language.” Several organizations such as the United Nations and the European Commission have adopted guidelines for the use of non-gendered language. The European Institute for Gender Equality defines gender-neutral language as "language that is not gender-specific and which considers people in general, with no reference to women and men."

Most recently, US automaker Ford changed its rules to adopt gender-neutral language to make its workplace more inclusive. As part of the move, the company would replace the title "chairman" with "chair." A spokesperson for Ford said, “Our roles at Ford aren’t gender exclusive and these changes help limit ambiguity and contribute to the inclusive and equitable culture we’re creating.” A spokesman for General Motors said Monday it removed the “chairman” title from CEO Mary Barra in exchange for “chair” in May, adding that GM did not change its bylaws but made the changes internally and to the company’s website.

While Lufthansa’s move has been appreciated by many, there are also those who have called it out on social media. “World gone mad with this ‘gender’ stuff,” wrote a Twitter user using the Lufthansa hashtag. “Ah, good plan. Cancel the majority to indulge a miniscule minority,” wrote one person, to which another responded, “When they're done with their stupid restrictions they'll not get any of my money, that's for certain!”

“Never heard such a load of bollocks. So what will the new greeting be when Boarding the Aircraft. Good Afternoon Arthur or Martha,” asked one person on Twitter. Another person wrote, “Nothing yanks my chain more than this gender neutral bollox and the fact that companies like Lufthansa are pandering to this nonsense, enough is enough now PLEASE!!!”





The outrage was summed up by one Twitter user who wrote, “Ah great I see transphobia is trending on German Twitter again because a plane company will say ‘Dear Passengers’ which is somehow not polite enough for people who INSIST on being referred to by their gender at ALL TIMES. Get a grip.”