For once, United Airlines is in the news for something positive. Today, the company tweeted that it would create a new option on bookings for people who would prefer not to be identified through binary gender descriptors: In addition to Mr. and Ms., customers can now click Mx.
It’s an important step, particularly for trans and gender non-conforming people. In a statement, the company said it worked with the LGBTQ+ organizations The Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project to train employees to be more welcoming to all customers by being respectful about using the personal pronoun they prefer.
USA Today reports that United’s new policy comes after the airline trade organizations Arlines for America and the International Air Transport Association released a new set of best practice standards that accommodate customers who prefer to use non-binary forms of identification. These organizations did not mandate this new policy, but left it up to each individual airline to implement it. Other airlines reportedly plan on adopting a similar pronoun-inclusive policy soon.
United, however, is first to the gate. This policy is designed to make flying less stressful for customers. But it’s unclear whether this positive step will help undo its reputation for treating customers terribly. Over the last few years, the company has developed a reputation for its poor treatment of customers. Remember that time when United brutally dragged a customer off a flight due to the company’s own overbooking mistake? Or the time they killed a customer’s dog? Or the time when they asked a breastfeeding mother to cover up? And directed another passenger to pump breast milk in the pet relief area?