Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Alaska Air Ends Prayer Cards

Recently, I've given Alaska Airlines another look and earlier this morning I got a very interesting e-mail that was completely unexpected: Alaska Air has ended a long time tradition of providing prayer cards to passengers. While some will disagree with this move, I think this was the right move to make and a good example of how a company ought to handle a thoughtful and considerate change. These cards were passed out during meal service in first class (and once upon a time in economy), and featured Biblical quotes. Nothing about them was mean spirited, but I applaud their move to ensure that all passengers feel equally welcome on Alaska flights.
Image thanks to Frank K. from Anchorage, Alaska

After the break, the full text of the e-mail!

Dear [SeattleFlyerGuy],

At Alaska Airlines, we have provided prayer cards to our customers for more than 30 years. A former marketing executive borrowed the idea from another airline and introduced the cards to our passengers in the late 1970s to differentiate our service.

The cards have been provided only to our First Class customers since meal tray service ended in coach six years ago. Beginning February 1, 2012, however, we'll be eliminating the cards entirely. This difficult decision was not made lightly. We believe it's the right thing to do in order to respect the diverse religious beliefs and cultural attitudes of all our customers and employees. 

Some of you enjoy the cards and associate them with our service. We also know some of you consider the cards to be a tradition that reflects your own spiritual beliefs. At the same time, we've heard from many of you who believe religion is inappropriate on an airplane, and some are offended when we hand out the cards. Religious beliefs are deeply personal and sharing them with others is an individual choice.

It's important that everyone know that this decision does not change our core values nor our care for our customers. We'll continue to distinguish ourselves through the pride and professionalism of our people on every flight and in our communities.

Our priority at Alaska is to fly our passengers to their destinations safely, on time and with their bags. We thank you for the opportunity to serve you and for the chance to demonstrate this commitment each time you fly with us. 


Bill Ayer
Chairman and CEO, Alaska Air Group

Brad Tilden
President, Alaska Airlines

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