U.S. Airlines to Offer New Gender Options for Non-Binary Passengers

Air travelers who want to will soon be able to choose a gender option other than “male” or “female” when buying their tickets.

The new “undisclosed” or “unspecified” options are meant to make things easier for travelers and airlines as a growing number of local, state and national governments issue identification documents with alternative gender choices, according to Airlines for America, a trade group that represents many major United States carriers.

“U.S. airlines value a culture of diversity and inclusion, both in the workplace and for our passengers,” the group said in a statement.

The Transportation Security Administration requires that travelers have gender markers associated with their tickets that match the identification documents they present at agency checkpoints. The new standard will make it easier for passengers who are gender nonconforming to travel with documents that more accurately represent their identities.

Transgender rights groups said the new options were good for all travelers, and especially for those who are transgender.

“Non-binary people face unnecessary, invasive and discriminatory scrutiny by airlines, airports and security services alike,” said Arli Christian, the state policy director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, who uses the pronoun “they.” As gender-neutral forms of identification become more widely available, they said, the change “is an important step toward ensuring safe and smooth travel for all passengers regardless of their gender.”

It is up to individual airlines to choose when to make the changes, Airlines for America said. United Airlines, a member of the group, said in a statement that “in the coming weeks, customers will be able to identify themselves as M(ale), F(emale), U(undisclosed) or X(unspecified)” and that “customers who do not identify with a gender will have the option of selecting ‘Mx.’ as a title.”

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are also working on introducing the new gender options, representatives for the carriers said, as is Delta Air Lines, which is not an Airlines for America member.