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Alaska Airlines ends prayer cards on flights
Alaska Airlines distributed prayer cards like these on flights for more than 30 years.
January 26th, 2012
04:21 PM ET

Alaska Airlines ends prayer cards on flights

By Aaron Cooper, CNN

(CNN) - Passengers on Alaska Airlines will no longer get a free Psalm with their meal.

On Wednesday, the airline announced it is ending its more than 30-year tradition of including printed cards with short Bible verses during meal service.

“I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name O most high,” was written on one card, over an image of foggy blue mountains. Another card featured these words over a beach at sunset: "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”

The cards have been distributed on trays with Alaska Airlines meals since the 1970s, according to airline spokeswoman Bobbie Egan. Since 2006, only passengers in First Class on longer Alaska Airlines flights have been served meals, so only a small percent of passengers received a card.

“This difficult decision was not made lightly,” the airline’s top executives said an email to frequent passengers. “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.”

“We also know some of you consider the cards to be a tradition that reflects your own spiritual beliefs,” the email said. “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.”

Kathy Hosford, of Dyea, Alaska told CNN Affiliate that ““I take the time to read them. It really tells me the airline cares about the people sitting there.”

Others disagree. “Religious attitudes do vary,” Egan says, and “a large percent of residents in markets that we do serve on the West Coast say religion is not important to them.”

“We have been keeping track over the recent years and we are receiving more complaints than compliments” says Egan. Between 1998 and 2002 they received 242 complaints and 141 compliments about the cards.

The idea to distribute the cards in the first place came from a marketing executive who borrowed the idea from another carrier as a way to differentiate Alaska’s service, according to the airline’s statement.

But that view has now changed. “A business that aspires to be diverse and inclusive shouldn't have a religious agenda. Religious beliefs are deeply personal and vary greatly among our customers” Egan said in an emailed statement.

The decision to eliminate the cards was made last fall, she says, and takes effect on February 1. No decision yet about what to do with the leftovers.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Alaska • Prayer

soundoff (2,364 Responses)
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    July 24, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  2. David

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    April 3, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  3. Carlos

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    April 2, 2012 at 4:52 am |
  4. ahmed

    That is a huge compliment! They are one of my raovfite magazines. Hope it brings a great new crop of simple-living, creative and hip gardeners your way.

    March 31, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  5. Dave H

    I wonder If this has anything to do with the fact that Emirates are due to start flying Into Seattle March 1st, Alaska would hate to offend any muzzlims, who knows what It could lead to ?

    February 5, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  6. Know What

    We should all send them a quick email thank you note.

    Public businesses get complaints perhaps 20 times more often than compliments; it will be noticed.

    January 31, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      Not a horrible idea at all.

      January 31, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Know What

      Here's the contact page:

      https://www.alaskaair.com/www2/ssl/help/ConsumerAffairsForm.asp?Company=Alaska

      January 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Know What

      Alaska did acknowledge my email:

      "I appreciate that you took the time to contact Alaska Airlines with regard to the discontinuation of our prayer cards.

      We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with us regarding the removal of prayer cards from our aircraft. We know that this decision is near and dear to the hearts of our customers and employees alike. We have received both positive and negative feedback regarding this issue. We would like to thank you for your comments and feedback as they are important to us."

      February 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  7. pervert alert

    Now what will I wipe my a ss with?

    January 31, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  8. Iqbal khan

    The Life of an American Jew in Racist Marxist Israel
    The Life of an American Jew in Racist Marxist Israel Written in 1985 by Jack Bernstein A CHALLENGE. THE CONTENTS OF THIS BOOK ARE EXPECTED TO BRING A STRONG REACTION ...
    http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/israel.htm – Cached

    January 30, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • CTexas

      Strong reaction: YAWN!!!

      February 18, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  9. Reality

    Dear Alaska Air,

    More suggested replacement information cards for your passengers:

    How much money would the following save the US taxpayers ?:

    Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
    There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror

    – One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

    – Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

    Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
    There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

    – The Mormon empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.

    – Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
    Abraham and Moses never existed.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

    – All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

    Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a YouTube,Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!

    January 29, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  10. momoya

    thank you AA! Very wise decision.

    January 29, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  11. Jennifer

    I found the cards mildly offensive. Passengers are a captive audience and I saw the cards as an attempt to convert or persuade people towards religion. I stopped flying Alaska Airlines because of those cards. I chose SouthWest for my flights because they were not promoting any religion.

    January 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • CTexas

      And Southwest is more of a party airline anyway....jammin' dudes

      February 18, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  12. Colin

    Another small step by our species away from primitive superst.itions. Now let's get all Bibles and Books of Mormon out of hotel rooms and replace them with "The Origin of Species" and Dawknin's "The God Delusion".

    January 29, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Anon

      Yes, and while we are at it, let us destroy all churches, mosques, and temples.

      January 29, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Reality

      Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

      Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues as they become the empty shells that they always were.

      January 29, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • derp

      "Yes, and while we are at it, let us destroy all churches, mosques, and temples."

      Sounds like a good start.

      January 31, 2012 at 11:59 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.