German airline Lufthansa has announced it will ditch the traditional "ladies and gentlemen" greeting when welcoming customers on board its flights, and will instead adopt gender-neutral language.
The airline usually greets passengers with "Sehr geehrte damen und herren, herzlich willkommen an bord", alongside its English translation: "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome on board".
From now on, Lufthansa passengers will hear gender-neutral greetings such as "dear guests".
The company says it wants to show its commitment to diversity in the language it uses as well. "Starting now, we also want to express this attitude in our language," spokesperson Anja Stenger told Deutsche Welle.
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Cabin crew will use phrases such as "dear guests", or simply say "good morning/evening" and "welcome on board", with no specific gender.
A sociologist quoted by Deutsche Welle says the move "works at a symbolic level".
"It can be considered as a 'gender-sensitive' step through which the gender binary is questioned," Alexandra Scheele told DW.
"People who identify themselves beyond male/female, as well as everyone who is questioning the binary systems, might be addressed better without using the phrase 'ladies and gentlemen/damen und herren.'"
The change applies to all airlines operated by the Lufthansa Group, which also includes Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Eurowings.