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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 8, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 28
OUTBOUND: All Nippon Airways extends benefits to LGBT employees and customers
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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OUTBOUND: All Nippon Airways extends benefits to LGBT employees and customers

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Arigatou gozaimasu, ANA! The Japanese airline, also known by its unabbreviated name All Nippon Airways, announced last week that it would begin allowing same-sex couples to share accumulated miles and inherit earned mileage from each other's accounts through its loyalty rewards program. While this kind of benefit is common among US-based airlines, it's rare among foreign carriers, especially those outside North America and Europe.

In another bold move and to further its support of its LGBT employees and customers, ANA will re-label restrooms in its multi-purpose lounges at Tokyo-Haneda (HND), Tokyo-Narita (NRT) and Osaka-Itami (ITM) airports to make them accessible for all guests - cisgender Men, Women and Transgender. Male and female symbols, as well as that of a wheelchair, appear on new signage for the restrooms along with the verbiage 'Anyone is free to use this universal facility' and ANA's LGBT-friendly logo, a rainbow colored airplane tail.

Additionally, the airline is pro-actively developing a new set of initiatives to support its LGBT staff, such as an expanded program to raise awareness of and educate all employees about LGBT issues, which includes training for management personnel and a review of the airline's welfare and benefits arrangements based on the premise that same-sex partners are equivalent to a spouse, and therefore entitled to the same benefits as heterosexual married couples. This is all part of the company's 'ANA Group Diversity & Inclusion Declaration,' implemented in April 2015, to ensure that all of its employees understand, comply and actively promote diversity and inclusion.

ANA, which flies to 83 international and 116 domestic destinations, is the largest airline in Japan by revenue and number of passengers. It employs 35,000 people worldwide and operates about 250 aircraft, including being the launch customer and biggest operator of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. From Seattle, ANA flies daily to Tokyo-Narita (1:20pm departure, 3:40pm next day arrival) on three-class 787-8 and 787-9 airplanes.

I flew ANA to Tokyo four years ago on the 787 Dreamliner and have amazing things to say about the experience, primarily the top-notch hospitality and service of its staff, not to mention wonderful in-flight amenities and a luxurious ANA Lounge at Tokyo-Narita. For more information on the airline, go to ana.co.jp.

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