Flights with United are about to be a bit less frustrating for non-binary individuals.
The airline released a statement on Friday outlining its new 3rd gender options when booking flights, including the ability to choose the gender neutral title "Mx." instead of just "Mr." and "Ms."
In addition, when indicating their gender during the booking process, customers will now have the ability to select U (Undisclosed) or X (Unspecified) in addition to the binary M (Male) and F (Female).
This will correspond to the gender marker on their ID or passport.
This change was motivated by the recent recommendation of 2 airline trade groups to make non-binary gender options standard for all airlines.
Airlines for America and the International Air Transport Association both voted to adopt a new best practice standard for customers who have "non-binary IDs."
According to USA Today, this new standard was to become effective on June 1, 2019, with airline participation ultimately being optional.
The US' five biggest airlines, Alaska Airlines, American, Delta, Southwest and United, all previously stated that they intended to comply with the standard.
United is the first to make it happen.
United worked with LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention organization The Trevor Project while implementing the changes. This consultation included employee training programs, including information on using customers' preferred pronouns.
Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of The Trevor Project, said of the partnership:
"The Trevor Project is grateful for United Airlines' support of our life-saving work on behalf of LGBTQ youth."
"We are thrilled to bring Trevor's expertise on the mental health of LGBTQ people to United to ensure its employees maintain safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ employees and guests."
The Human Rights Campaign's acting director of the Workplace Equality Program, Beck Bailey, commented on the partnership as well:
"By providing non-binary gender selection for ticketing and the gender-inclusive honorific 'Mx' in user profiles, United Airlines is taking an important step forward for non-binary inclusion."
United's Chief Customer Officer Toby Enqvist issued a hopeful statement about the changes:
"United is determined to lead the industry in LGBT inclusivity, and we are so proud to be the first US airline to offer these inclusive booking options for our customers."
"United is excited to share with our customers, whether they identify along the binary of male or female or not, that we are taking the steps to exhibit our care for them while also providing additional employee training to make us even more welcoming for all customers and employees."
United also posted the announcement to Twitter, where it received quite a bit of attention.
Fly how you identify. Our new non-binary gender options are now available.— United Airlines (@United Airlines)1553253300.0
@united Yes! Thank you ❤️— Susanne Koch (@Susanne Koch)1553424483.0
@united AD NONBINARY I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE DOING THIS. Not even joking thank you so much!!!! ❤️— smile4meep (@smile4meep)1553422149.0
Not all of the attention was positive, but there were plenty of people fighting back against the negativity.
@united 99% of ppl in these replies think they're so smart and witty for making the "I identify as an ..." joke. Ye… https://t.co/GRz6e44iEM— Yulia Klueva (@Yulia Klueva)1553290581.0
@mlawson7854 @united Tolerant?— Gareth Williams (@Gareth Williams)1553256879.0
@united Wow. These comments. I wish you guys were as outraged about gun violence as you are about gender identities.— Ida Skibenes ❄️ (@Ida Skibenes ❄️)1553373931.0
For those who exist somewhere on the gender spectrum other than male or female, this is a very welcome change.
For those who do identify as binary male or female, this change won't affect them at all; "M" and "F" will still be right there on the form like they always have been.