Maureen N. Maratita

As the year inches forward, I appreciate any signs that life is returning to normal, however slowly.

And there it was in my inbox — an eight-page “Inclusive Language Reference Guide” from the Air Line Pilots Association International. 

“Maybe for your column,” the Journal fan who sent it to me wrote.

 The guide is winging its way (I couldn’t resist that) to whoever is still left in the union as members in the U.S. and Canada — about 59,000 members at last count, so down about 4,000.

And yes, the guide was designed by a committee. …


Here are some choice examples:

How to begin a conversation on pronouns:

“My name is Jane Doe and I use the pronouns she, her and hers. Do you have a desired pronoun?”

(I would not advise Jane and John Doe to try that in a downtown bar and I frankly doubt any of the pilots will ask that question. In my experience pilots are smart people.)

OUT: Ladies and gentlemen

IN: Guests, flyers, travelers, customers, folks — or (the imminently sensible) “Hello from the flight deck.”

ALPA doesn’t like “Mrs.” or “Miss” either, preferring “Ms.” I would correct anybody who referred to me as Miz Maratita. (You do the job, you get the Mrs. title, right?) …


OUT: The girls in the back (referring to flight attendants)

IN: Flight attendants

(This example takes you back at least 40 years to when flight attendants were exclusively female. Is there an all-female crew in the U.S. or Canada, or a pilot still flying that would use ‘girls’?)

OUT: Cockpit

And I quote, “This word is outdated and is used as a derogatory word to exclude women in the piloting profession.” (Who knew? Not me. I’ve been using “cockpit” without a second thought. I suppose this entry makes sense, but you would think pilots know that already.)

IN: The flight deck

OUT: Chairman/vice chairman

IN: Chair

I must disagree here. A chair is a piece of furniture. Chairperson is better than chair, but every chairperson has a preference. (Oscar Munoz is very definitely the chairman of United.) There are plenty of women that are perfectly happy with “Madam Chairman.” (Life is short.)

The chief of staff to incoming Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr. is the first female to hold the job. I somehow doubt Chief of Staff Landisang Kotaro wants to be called “chieftess” or “chief person.” Flexibility is always a good idea.


Clearly the sooner the planes and the pilots are back to flying the sooner ALPA can concentrate on real issues.

For us passengers, our worries continue to be the same. For example, can I get another cup of coffee before we land?

And then there are the new concerns, entirely COVID-related.

I am not sure how many passengers listen to the announcement from the er, flight deck or elsewhere in the plane. There are clearly ways to avoid it, especially these days with noise canceling headsets and personal devices and airlines offering back-of-seat information. …


Really, there is only one announcement I want to hear when we make the descent into Heathrow.

“It’s a beautiful sunny day in London and we’ll be arriving early. We’ll have your luggage carefully deposited on the carousel before you get there.

“Traffic leaving Heathrow is remarkably light. And Mrs. Maratita, that second cup of coffee will be with you very shortly.” …


— Maureen N. Maratita is the publisher at Glimpses Media. Publications at Glimpses Media include the Marianas Business Journal, MBJ Life, The Real Estate Journal, Guam Business Magazine, Beach Road Magazine, Buenas and Drive Guam.