Mrs. Prof. Dr.

If you book a Lufthansa flight online, this is your choice of titles:

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

15 thoughts on “Mrs. Prof. Dr.

  1. It does look funny, doesn’t it, very German. However, IATA rules say that a ticket must also identify the sex of the passenger (or should that be “gender” in newspeak? I always thought that gender was masculine, feminine, neuter, etc.). And if the passenger was identified just as Dr. or Prof., you couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman.

    I’d have thought that simply Mr. or Mrs. would be enough, but I guess German academics would then go to court to insist on their legal right to have their title shown on the ticket.

    Last year, one of our large corporate customers decided that *no* titles whatsoever will be used in English texts, which is a blessing. Others, though, insist on the “Prof. Dr. Dr. Dr. hc” sort of title, which simply looks childish in English.

  2. I must say that I didn’t think of this Mrs./Ms thing myself at first, but now that you mention it, Margaret… they could have been a bit more sensitive about this.

    What I noticed is that they put the Dr. in front of Mr./Mrs., but Prof. and Prof. Dr. comes after Mr./Mrs. Is that correct?

  3. Sonja: I used to think this Mr./Mrs. was a German thing, because Frau is applied to both married and unmarried women. But now I think other airlines use it too.
    The variation from Mr. Dr. to Dr. Mrs. is funny. In English, you would just write Dr., without any Mr. or Mrs., but Robin says the airlines have to indicate sex. I do usually allow Prof.Dr. to remain so in English, but they would be Prof. in English.
    I wish I had chosen Mr. now. After all, it’s the only possibility that covers ‘not married’.

  4. Oh, the Mrs. thing drives me batty too. I recently booked on BA and their choices were:


    Which is also quite a hilarious selection. But Capt, Dr, Prof, and Rev are all gender-neutral, and I don’t see a checkbox or any other way to specify gender, so I’m not 100% convinced about the IATA thing. Maybe they query that on a different page though.

  5. Margaret, I know you’re p*ssed off (your censor wouldn’t allow me to write that with an ‘i’, by the way) about the “Mrs.” thing, but that’s so firmly established now with Deutsche Luftwaffe that you’re unlikely to change it. They simply categorise everybody as Mr., Mrs., or Child. I should point out that if you’d ticked “Mr.”, they’d be entitled to deny you boarding. Also, when Deb and I flew to the US in May this year with Continental, the only options were Mr. and Mrs. (and as you know, Deb isn’t a Mrs.).

  6. Michele: But at least BA has options that would apply to me: Miss or Ms (or Dr).

    Robin: My censor is me. I have blocked that word because of comment spam. I really don’t mind it being there, but in the last hour I have received one search for ‘Impressum’ and automatically rejected comments on b*ndage, p*ssy, p*ss and f*cking. The alternative is no comments at all! Or email me and I’ll post it for you.

    I’m not as p*ssed off as I used to be, nor am I informed of Deb’s marital status.
    It seems odd to me that BA allow non-sex-specific terms. But as I said, I am sure I have encountered this with non-German airlines, as you did with Continental. Did Deb object to appearing to be your wife?

  7. 1) ROTFL.
    2) I’m with Rev. [etc.] Des von Bladet.
    3) You would think they’d have a localisation department or at least a contractor, wouldn’t you?

    [Just a “Ms”, too, and shaking my head.]

  8. Well, I checked Air France, and on their site, the language appears to be tied to the country you’re in when you book the flight. The French site seems to offer only French, and the choices are


    … as you’d expect. On the UK site, it’s all simplicity, too, with a few extraneous full stops:


    I’m unclear whether the order of the choices has any particular significance.

  9. Deb kept her own name, so technically she’s a Ms. One of the benefits of getting married under Scots law is that a woman always keeps her own name. She can take her husband’s name if she chooses. That’s why in the local Scottish papers, you’ll often see court reports about somebody being hauled up before the Sheriff and referred to as e.g. “Kirsty Brown or McTavish”.

  10. Chris: I’m very taken with Miss. with a full stop after. Apparently Paul uses that too.

    Robin: ‘technically she’s a Ms.’? Do you mean ‘technically a Miss’, like Miss Maggie Smith? I mean, everyone is technically a Ms or a Ms., I would have thought, unless they’re a Mr or a Mr., of course.

    I often write Mrs. or Mr. with the full stop (period!) because I believe many Americans would be surprised at anything less. When it comes to Ms, no-one knows what it stands for, but I suppose it’s not worth arguing about.

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