KLM customers who prefer a more neutral form of address when making a booking can now choose a gender-neutral alternative to the customary masculine or feminine courtesy titles. KLM has recognized a growing demand for this option among certain customers and believes that its introduction is in line with efforts to become more inclusive and to deliver a more personalized customer experience.
KLM has initially introduced this new feature for customers in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States. Customers booking their tickets in these countries can now specify that they identify as non-binary. Customers may also ask to forgo the courtesy title altogether and be addressed by name only. If a courtesy title cannot be omitted entirely, the letter “X” will be used in the salutation for these customers. Only adults will have the option of choosing the gender-neutral form of address.
This is only one of a number of steps KLM is taking to move towards a more personalized and gender-neutral approach to customers. For example, customers who have a KLM account or who are members of the Flying Blue loyalty program can already choose a gender-neutral form of address. Alternative forms of address are being used in other settings as well. Some time ago, KLM started using “passengers” instead of “ladies and gentlemen” in its inflight announcements, for instance. Other processes, including check-in, will be adapted later this year.
By making these changes, KLM is aligning with the experience of passengers booking through partner airlines, such as US-based Delta Air Lines and UK-based Virgin Atlantic, which introduced alternative forms of address in their booking procedures last year. Such changes are also consistent with the policies of the IATA, the global airline industry association.
KLM believes in the power of diversity and inclusion. Our customers come from every corner of the earth and from diverse cultural backgrounds, giving them differing perspectives and requirements. It is very important to KLM that each and every customer feels personally valued and respected. Introducing gender-neutral forms of address should help achieve this and deliver the ideal customer experience to which KLM aspires.
“KLM recognizes that society, and thus customer requirements, are changing. At the same time, 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. After all, there are few things more profound than our identity and, consequently, our name and how others address us. The fact that we immediately had hundreds of customers opting for this new feature, shows that we have indeed recognised and acknowledged them," mentions Boet Kreiken, Executive Vice President Customer Experience .