All major U.S. airlines have confirmed that they will offer non-binary booking options for passengers who don’t identify as either male or female but updates to computer reservation systems might not be completed until the end of 2024.
In addition to the traditional gender identifiers of ‘male’ and ‘female’, some airlines have started to include ‘X’ which shows that the passenger is either non-binary, intersex or gender non-conforming. Some airlines also include a fourth ‘U’ gender marker for undisclosed.
Airlines for America, a trade group that represents some of the biggest U.S. airlines including American, Delta and United Airlines says its members have agreed to update their IT systems within the next two years.
In the meantime, the lobby group says its airlines will provide information on their websites on how non-binary passengers can ask for their tickets to be manually altered to show an X gender marker.
Delta Air Lines has been promising to update its reservation system since 2018 to show an X gender marker but the Atlanta-based carrier now believes the change won’t be made until the end of this year at the earliest.
The first U.S. airline to add both an X and U gender identifier to its booking system back in 2019 was United Airlines following approval by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
American Airlines has also added X and U gender identifiers but Alaska and Hawaiian still only offer Male and Female gender options. Spirit Airlines does not ask passengers to choose a gender but they must choose from traditional gender-based titles – either Mr, Miss, or Mrs.
Americans in 20 States can now obtain driving licenses with an X gender marker after Oregon became the first state to provide the option in 2017. Earlier this year, the U.S. State Department confirmed it had issued its first-ever passport with an X gender marker.
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.