British Airways says it is “urgently investigating” an issue on its website that suggests only men can be doctors. The issue was highlighted by Dr Jewel Kling, an Arizona-based female physician who was prevented from adding her correct title to a new booking because it didn’t “match” her gender.
“Apparently “Dr” and “woman” do not match on British airways,” Dr Kling, a menopause practitioner and Professor of medicine at the Arizona Mayo Clinic wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “Looking forward to their reply,” her tweet continued.
British Airways didn’t immediately reply to Dr Kling but when contacted for comment, a spokesperson said the airline was “urgently investigating” a “technical issue”. In response to Dr Kling’s tweet, other BA customers shared their own similar experiences suggesting it wasn’t an isolated incident.
Michelle Gubler says she booked a flight using her own credit card but listed her husband as the second passenger. In every email sent from British Airways to Michelle, the airline addressed only her husband.
Checks out. https://t.co/SXVNENGrJP— Michelle Gubler (@michelle_ann6) July 1, 2022
Others pointed out that BA was aware of issues with its booking system since 2019 when passengers started to request non-gender specific titles such as ‘Mx’.
British Airways currently offers 19 didn’t titles for customers to choose from including Baron, Viscount and Sir. The airline is yet to amend its booking system to allow customers to choose a non-gender-specific title.
Onboard BA flights, however, the airline has stopped using gender-specific greetings like “ladies and gentleman” and instead, flight crew and flight attendants are urged to greet customers by saying “hello everyone”.
Gender-specific announcements and titles can pose issues for people who identify as non-binary – which is when someone’s “gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ‘woman’”.
The LGBTQI+ advocacy charity Stonewall describes the term non-binary as someone who feels “that their gender identity and gender experience involves being both a man and a woman, or that it is fluid, in between, or completely outside of that binary.”
Stonewall suggests that when addressing a group, individuals and businesses use alternatives to the binary “ladies and gentleman” like ‘folks’, ‘pals’ or ‘everyone’.
In a statement, British Airways said: “We’re sorry for a technical issue that has occurred in one drop-down box on our website and we’re urgently investigating.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.