The Italy-based carrier is the first European airline to do so.
As of today, Air Italy now offers a nonbinary gender booking option: In addition to F (female) and M (male), the Italian carrier lists a third gender option, X, for passengers who don’t define themselves as male or female. The move makes Air Italy the first European carrier to offer a nonbinary gender booking option.
“Air Italy’s brand tagline is ‘Imagine the world differently.’ Within this is a vision that embraces every manifestation of freedom, inclusion, the acceptance of diversity and striving for progress. Our introduction of nonbinary options on our website is therefore another demonstration of these important values,” said Air Italy’s chief operating officer, Rossen Dimitrov, in a statement.
As previously reported by Alex Verman for AFAR, in March, United became the first airline to provide gender neutral options in its booking process: Passengers can identify themselves as M (male), F (female), U (undisclosed), or X (unspecified), corresponding with what is on their passports or identification. Fliers can also select the title “Mx.” during booking.
These decisions by the airlines are a response to a commitment from Airlines for America (A4A) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which announced in February 2019 that by June 1, 2019, both major trade organizations would let airlines offer two new gender options for travelers booking flights: U (undisclosed) or X (unspecified), in contrast to the previous binary system, which included M and F choices only.
Delta, Hawaiian, Alaska, JetBlue, and Southwest have all previously said they plan to shift toward more inclusive options, but as of press time, hadn’t responded to requests for comment. American Airlines told AFAR, "We are working to implement the change to accommodate a nonbinary gender ID option."
Despite the progress, some advocates say the news only represents a partial victory because the option selected has to match the passport and identification carried: Currently, U.S. passports still only offer binary genders, and not all states allow citizens to get a driver’s license or other ID with X as a gender.