Saturday, August 8, 2009

Dear Sir

Pakistan has become more progressive, with women much more visible in schools, workplaces, and on the street, but everyone who matters is still assumed to be a man. I was once in a position where I received many job applications from Pakistan. They were almost always addressed, “Dear Sir.” Even if we were hiring from Pakistan, which we weren't, I would never hire anyone who assumed I was a man.

So when Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) did it to me, I reacted.


Please cancel my 8:00 am flight on Saturday. I accidentally booked it thinking 8:00 was 20:00. (I forgot they use military time.)



Dear Sir,

This refers to your email. We will look into the matter and confirm the refund.

PIA Customer Service


Please note that I am Madam NOT Sir. Women book plane tickets too.


Dear Ms. Nadia,

We apologize for the inconvenience caused to you by our email.



It would not be hard to change their automated response to “Dear Sir/Madam.” Perhaps more women need to book plane tickets in Pakistan. Or just react more.

(Feel free to send a protest note to my penpal at PIA:


  1. lollllllllllllllllllllllllll love ur response "women book plane tickets too"

  2. Funny but credit still goes to pia for correction.

  3. I think it's a cultural thing, so dont take offense. SO many female friends/relatives have been called "sir", "boss", etc. "Sir" is more a term of respect, so dont think theyre being disrespectful by calling you that. It's better than being addressed other weird terms that their non-english speaking/writing staff use!