Dutch flag carrier KLM said on Wednesday that it is introducing gender-neutral booking options to address “growing demand” amongst some customers who don’t want to be addressed with traditional masculine or feminine titles.
“KLM recognises that society, and thus customer requirements, are changing,” explained Boet Kreiken, the airline’s Executive Vice President Customer Experience.
“We consider it very important that customers continue to feel at home at KLM. That’s why I’m proud that we’re now giving customers more choice in how they would like to be addressed,” Kreiken continued. “After all, there are few things more profound than our identity and, consequently, our name and how others address us.”
The gender-neutral booking option has already been soft-launched in several countries, and Kreiken says that “several hundred” customers chose gender-neutral titles almost immediately after it became available on KLM’s online booking site.
Initially, the new gender-neutral booking option is being rolled out in KLM’s home market in the Netherlands, as well as the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States.
During the booking process, customers can specify that they identify as non-binary or forego a title altogether. KLM said in a statement that only adults can select non-binary options.
The first European airline to introduce gender-neutral booking options was the now-defunct Italian carrier Air Italy which added the ‘Mx’ title to its list of available titles in 2019.
United Airlines became the first U.S. airline to offer gender-neutral booking options after it added both X and U gender identifiers in the same year as Air Italy.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents the majority of airlines around the world, approved the addition of non-binary booking options for countries that allow their citizens to have a gender-neutral passport back in 2018.
Major U.S. airlines have promised to offer non-binary booking options for passengers who don’t identify as male or female, but a trade group warned last year that the required updates to legacy computer systems might not be completed until the end of 2024.
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.