The world’s largest airline pilot union, Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), has urged the aviation community to stop using terms considered offensive to women and LGBTQ individuals, such as “cockpit.”

Representing over 70,000 pilots globally, ALPA collaborates with a United Nations agency on its policies. Their 2021 diversity, equity, and inclusion language guide lists several terms and phrases to avoid, particularly “masculine generalizations,” to promote inclusion and equity.

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The guide emphasizes that “inclusive language in communications is essential to our union’s solidarity and collective strength and is an important factor in maintaining flight safety.”

The guide suggests replacing “cockpit” with “flight deck,” citing that the former term has been used derogatorily to exclude women. It also advises against using terms like “manpower,” recommending “people/human power” instead, and discourages addressing groups as “guys” due to its non-inclusive nature.

ALPA also recommends avoiding “mother/father” and “husband/wife” to respect diverse family structures and same-sex couples.

ALPA Pilots Stand Together on this Labor Day
The largest airline pilot union urged airmen and women to avoid using terms considered offensive to women and LGBTQ individuals.

Linguist Ben Zimmer noted in a Wall Street Journal article that “cockpit” originated from 16th-century cockfighting, evolving to describe tense environments and later the area on British warships for treating the wounded.

Former FAA safety team representative Kyle Bailey told Fox News Digital that diversity has little to do with safe travel, emphasizing that flight experience and training are paramount. He noted that piloting remains predominantly male, with few young girls aspiring to be pilots.

Major airlines like United Airlines have faced criticism for their DEI initiatives. United’s CEO Scott Kirby drew backlash for promoting diversity goals, aiming for 50% of their graduating pilot classes to be women or people of color. This led to criticism from figures like Elon Musk and Center for Security Policy Senior Analyst J. Michael Waller, who suggested Kirby should resign to set an example.