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What’s in a Title?

This morning I booked my almost 20-year old daughter on a flight from Munich to Berlin on dba. One of the required fields in the online booking form was “Title” with a most bizarre pick-list (I believe Margaret Marks had a post about something like this not too long ago in her Transblawg):

Mr.
Mr. Dr.
Mr. Prof.
Mr. Prof. Dr.
Mrs.
Dr. Mrs.
Mrs. Prof.
Mrs. Prof. Dr.

Now, my daughter is no Mrs. and leaving the field blank was not possible. What were my choices? I think dba should seriously rework their English pick-list for the Title field. How about simply Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms? If gender identification is the only purpose, how about F and M?

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2 Responses to “What’s in a Title?”

  1. Ines Swaney says:

    F and M would be OK for gender identification, but do you mean…

    F (Father) / M (Mother)
    or…
    F (Female) / M (Male)

    Just thought I’d raise this slightly ambiguous issue…

    • Michael says:

      Ines, thank you for reading my blog… especially such an old post. How old is it? Well, the airline in question, Deutsche BA, has been gone for a while. (I’m sure it has nothing to do with the deficiencies of their on-line form.)

      I never could understand why airline reservations would need a title. Announcements in the boarding area typically refer to “passenger Smith” and not to a Mr. or Mrs. Smith. But then we learned that law-enforcement computers had a hard time pinpointing specific people if there were several by the same name. So now we need to give the airlines our date of birth and gender. Some of the U.S. airline reservation sites have a special section for that type of information, including check boxes for “male” and “female.” This information is not reflected on the boarding documents, however.

      So why not leave out this silly “Mr. Prof. Dr.” altogether and ask for “male” and “female” in an underlying layer of the form – if it is really necessary to ask at all.

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