Travel tech company introduces ‘X’ option for passengers’ gender

“For us ‘X’ marks a vote for diversity, dignity and respect” – so says the travel technology company Travelport as it introduces the code as an alternative to “F” or “M” for a passenger’s gender. 

The Berkshire-based firm, which provides a technology platform for 480 of the world’s airlines, has introduced the new code for non-binary gender airline passengers. The option will go live on 1 June.

Non-binary airline travellers will be able to select X when completing “advance passenger information” (API) requirements for 16 countries, including Spain, Thailand, the UAE and the US.

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But the X option will only be permissible if it matches the gender on a passenger’s passport or identity document.

Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, India, Ireland, Malta, New Zealand, Nepal, the Netherlands and Pakistan currently offer an option other than female or male on passports, with most of them using X to signify the non-binary choice.

At present passengers are still required to select between female and male when booking flights, whether direct with the airline or through an agent. But several carriers, including American Airlines, Delta and United have said they will bring in the new code. 

Gordon Wilson, president and CEO of Travelport, said: “As a company committed to diversity and promoting travel for all, we are delighted that the new code for non-binary gender passengers has now been introduced.

“We hope more airlines will provide this option to ensure their customers are fully respected and welcomed.”

A British Airways spokesperson told The Independent: “We know how important it is for all of our customers to feel comfortable and welcome no matter how they self-identify.

“We will look to change our booking platform to reflect this and we’re currently assessing the technical development requirements needed across a range of our systems.”

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