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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)
  1. Matthew

    IN GOD WE TRUST is still our national motto and on currency.... so SHUT the F UP nonbelievers ! :)

    January 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Observer

      That motto wasn't on our first coins.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  2. Anna

    MAY GOD LEAD ALL DAM.N ATHEISTS AND I HOPE THEY HAVE MISRABLE, SHORT LIFE HOPEFULLY!!!!!

    January 26, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Observer

      How Christian of you! And how HYPOCRITICAL.

      Please pray that you can learn how to spell.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • mmaxum2002

      Nice Anna, nice. Glad to see you're keeping up with "Love one another"

      January 26, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • AlanW

      How utterly Christian of you.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • atheisto

      May good take you to his side where you belong, sooner than you hope.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • atheisto

      May your "G.O.D" take you to his side sooner than you wish.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Robert

      Too bad little Anna can't spell or think for herself. I really love your belief system.Believe in and honor my God or he'll hurt you! That's recruiting at its finest.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  3. ja-coffalotte

    Thanks Gawd, about time. The new paradigm after 2012 will expose "organized" religion for what it really is, ba-bye charlatans.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Lalala

      Why are atheists such angry people?
      Story about taking away a prayer card: typical response- "Thank god, yaaaaaay, woo-hoo"
      Story about children dying starvation deaths in Africa: typical response- (yawn) Hope I can find find something to troll...

      January 26, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  4. bajadelmar

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

    Typical xian response. As long as everything in this country reflects their religious BELIEFS. Imagine if the message was Islamic or Mormon??? Ms Hosford and most xians would pitch a fit in a heartbeat.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  5. Carl in Alaska

    Note the reason why Alaska Airlines made this decision. It wasn't an economic decision; instead, Alaska Airlines played the diversity card. Note that in order for them to seek that precious "diversity" or "inclusivity", they are EXCLUSIVE of those who appreciate the cards.

    I already boycott Alaska Airlines because they engage in employment discrimination against smokers; they won't even consider smokers for employment even if the smokers agree in advance not to smoke on the job. This is bigotry, and I prefer not to subsidize bigots unless absolutely unavoidable. Now Alaska Airlines has given me another reason to continue boycotting them.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  6. Pete

    Glad to hear it!!!!!!!!

    January 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • herbie

      it

      January 26, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  7. chris

    This was a good call by the airline. I am surprised they were still handing those out... If not insensitive to people of different beliefs, it was a little weird at best.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Robin

      I commend the airlines for offering such a great service of delivering God's word. It's unfortunate that it has to end.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Illuminati

      Let people who do not like the cards be upset if they wish to be blooming idiots.
      Christians have the right to prayer cards and to be upset more than anyone else.

      January 26, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  8. idb

    Personally I think prayer cards on a plane are a bit overdone. However, the reason to get rid of them is completely wrong. Never apologize for your religion. Just another example of out of hand political correctness.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  9. If horses had Gods ...

    We atheists are used to followers' need for affirmation by pushing their belief on others, it's just nice to see that type of behavior going away bit by bit. To me it says we're psychologically maturing as a species.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • booboo

      you mean the same way athiests are constantly pushing their beliefs down my throat and against my will? yeah, you are Sooo different than the rest, oh and Sooo mature in your approach..

      January 26, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Robin

      Who said it's pushing beliefs on you? It's between you and God if you accept it.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  10. sound reason

    andrew. the extension of my question (as you already stated you take it on faith), is why faith in this? what makes the constancy of the universe more believable than, say, a God who has revealed Himself in a written Word? what compelling proof exists for you in the one over the other?

    January 26, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Someone You Don't Know

      There is no proof in god. None at all. You have a book that you claim is written by people who heard voices in their head to write the words. I'll let you in on a secret. I know god. No really, I do. I have a word file that's from him. You can't disprove that I know god.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  11. Dave

    Did you hear about the dyslexic agnostic? He wandered through life wondering if there really is a dog.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • ahahahahahaha!!

      ahahahahaha!

      January 26, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • IceT

      Your dog don't know sit !

      January 26, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  12. Patriarchae

    Look at all the Christians whining that Alaska Airlines chose to respect the beliefs of everyone instead of Christians alone. I've never seen a more self-centered, arrogant, and sociopathic group of people in my life. I guess Sam Harris was correct when he said, "It is difficult to imagine a set of beliefs more suggestive of mental illness than those that lie at the heart of many of our religious traditions." True words.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • just sayin

      your declaration of truth would carry more weight if you weren't a liar in the first place

      January 26, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • booboo

      "I've never seen a more self-centered, arrogant, and sociopathic group of people in my life".. you should go check out your local athiest church.. oops, i mean "gathering"

      January 26, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • If horses had Gods ...

      Nice quote, well said.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • shut up, herbie

      herbie, shut up.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • herbie

      there is no herbie

      January 26, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • herbie

      there is no herbie at all

      January 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • ok, sorry

      ok, sorry

      January 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Headed Up

      Go ahead and laugh and make fun of Christians and of our God, but you won't be laughing when you have to stand before the God of this universe to answer for you choice to accept him or reject him. Your rejection of God doesn't make him less than God. He is and always will be the Creator and the Savior of this world whether you choose to belief or not. If the plane you are on starts to go down, I wonder who you would be calling on????

      January 26, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  13. Sandy

    I'll be bless to have the balance of the Prayer Cards for my Church!!!

    January 26, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  14. Does Marcellis Wallace look like a bi*ch?

    "I'm sick of these mutha-fuc*ing Cards on this mutha-fuc*ing plane!"

    January 26, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Dan

      LMAO!! Thanks!

      January 26, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • booboo

      if you missed out on the automated phone calls they used for marketing on that film, you really missed out. best thing to ever happen. had sam call my mom and threaten her to "go see mothrfckn snake on a plane!!!"

      January 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  15. bob

    They should do a quote from Zulu 9:23 from the Book of Scientology. I've always found inspiration from that one. Xenu bless everyone!!

    January 26, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      Best prayer posture for Scientology? Drop your head between your knees and kiss your butt good-bye.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  16. yellow rose

    Alaska airlines this breaks my Heart they caved in - I looked forward to the beautiful handouts – GOD Bless Jim Kennedy – I will always cherish and keep my little cards that I always looked forward too when I fly Alaska which is at least once a month - they are still the best Airline but to be honest this is very sad - Remember ONE NATION UNDER GOD - Made America and we no longer can display that – so needless to say we are going down the toilet - God Bless

    January 26, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Andrew

      You are aware that phrase was thrown in there in the 1950s during the whole red scare because people felt 'communists can't say god!' yeah?

      You champion a cold war relic, not an actual principle of the country.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Patriarchae

      "One Nation Under God" was adopted in the 50's, genius. Our nations original, INTENDED motto was "e pluribus unum" which means "Out of one, many" which is both WAY more fitting and WAY more dignified than the garbage we threw it away for.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Ironicus

      You might be going down the toilet but the rest of us are just fine without the need for constant propaganda being shoved at us by religious extremists like you.
      It's just a damn airplane ride, not a special church flight.
      If you want a special charter, you gotta use a charter flight, not public transportation.
      Take a church van to the airport. They have the highest mortality rate because maintenance is not spelled out in your Bible.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • JT

      No, "one nation under god" was added in the 1950s so it did not make this nation. It was put there by frightened, diluded individuals like yourself in your zeal to force everyone else into your cult.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • booboo

      "constant propaganda being shoved at us by religious extremists ".... yoiu mean like athiests flying banners with planes, renting busses and benches, billboards etc to preach their message down peoples throats? like that you mean?

      January 26, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Bought and Paid For

      It was written "... One nation, under the flag...". LEARN IT.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Patriarchae

      Booboo, the number of atheist billboards is FAR LESS than the number of Christian billboards, and are there as a countering influence. You could at least TRY to hide your hypocrisy.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Not everyone is a Christian, @yellow rose. It is as offensive to non-believers, and members of other religions to receive these cards, as it would be for you to receive quotes from the Kuran at every meal.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • booboo

      patriarch. Just the fact that ANY of that stuff goes on with athiests is embarrasing proof that they are just as religious as the next group. your argument is humerous. So athiests can act religious and spend money on public displays of their beliefs, as long as its not a lot of billboards, just a few? ha ha

      January 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Steve

      Far as I know, "under the flag" was never in the pledge. Pretty sure it started as "one nation, indivisible" and the "under God" was an insertion not a change. You may be confusing the flag reference to the change that was implemented to change "I pledge allegiance to my flag" to "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America".

      January 26, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  17. 3N1Amen

    Heaven or Hell? Turn or burn. It's your choice. God created you to love Him, not hate Him. It's your choice to serve Him or not.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Andrew

      He created me to give him sychophantic praise or suffer enternal punishment? Damn, if that's true, that alone is pretty good reason for me to prefer torture over heaven being surrounded by such an egotistical d-ck.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Patriarchae

      Ok then, I choose not to be a mindless drone for your maniacal overlord. There we go, easiest decision I've ever made.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • bm

      Do I serve him with fries or onion rings...?

      January 26, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Your assertion that your deity created me to love me, is as unsubstantiated as it is creepy.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Liz in Seattle

      Go ahead and try to make the argument that God really, really wants prayer cards on airplanes. Be sure to highlight the many ways in which the lack of prayer cards in first class on Alaska Airlines is going to push us all over the brink into global hellfire and damnation.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Mike Nelson

      God created me? Actually, my parents screwed in the back of a volkswagen and when he got his naughty juice on her uh-huh egg, THAT'S what created me. God had nothing to do with it. Religious people are so fun to play with.....

      January 26, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  18. TomGI

    I'm not offended by this insignificant gesture. I judge my airline by airfares, on time departure/arrival, smooth in flight and a comfy seat. Also, I judge them by the stewardess' reaction to disruptive/drunk travelers and screaming kids. I don't read prayer cards, they don't influence me at all.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • booboo

      you may be the only real athiest on this board

      January 26, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Montello

      I'm not offended, either. If someone gets pleasure out of reading the card, bully for him/her. I don't, so I just ignore them. Sort of like how I tune out politicians' endless meaningless blather.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  19. sharkfisher

    What I can't understand is why so many people are so angry at and so afraid of a God they claim does't exist.I claim there are no vampires but I don't fear and feel no anger for the persons that believe that they do.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • JT

      It's because you're an idiot since no one who does not believe in your sky god is frightened or angry at this invisible, nonexistent thing you call a god.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Patriarchae

      People, and the government, don't try to shove their belief in vampires down my throat (aside from those Twilight lunatics). Belief in vampires has never killed millions of people.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • blinded by the light

      Did you ever ask an atheist why he was angry at god. I bet you would be surprised by the answer.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Andrew

      It's kinda like voldemort, I don't believe voldemort is real, but if people were saying 'lord voldemort would be appaled at letting gays legally marry, we must prevent it', I would take issue with the beliefs. I'd state 'voldemort isn't real!' Lets say those believers then try to get taxbreaks while trying to push pro-magic anti-science messages in public school, and I get up saying 'magic is a myth, Voldemort isn't real! This has no reason to be taught in public schools!'

      But lets take it further, lets say that these people not only want tax breaks, not only want to push beliefs in school, or impact discriminitory legislation, they also control the vast majority of government such that it's nearly impossible to get elected without publically saying 'I believe in voldemort!' or 'belief in voldemort makes you a good person with strong values'.

      I don't need to believe in the fictional character to then get rather upset with how a fictional character is impacting society.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Liz in Seattle

      We're just tired, sharkfisher. I don't know if you fit into the category or not, but Christian zealots just cannot rest when people who don't agree with them want to have an opinion or defend our rights and freedoms. In every other belief area, it is considered rude to shove your beliefs down someone else's throat and badger other people about it. But for religious fanatics, it's de rigeur.Some of us have already decided we don't agree with you and we just want to be left alone.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      @Sharkfisher. We're not afraid of god for the very reason you stated - we don't believe that he exists. What we're afraid of is people that believe in god imposing that belief on the rest of us. Study the history of Europe to see what horrible damage can occur when governments are controlled by religion, and get back to me.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • QS

      "I claim there are no vampires but I don't fear and feel no anger for the persons that believe that they do."

      So you don't fear, nor feel anger towards, a fictional character? That's awesome....because that's the answer to your question in regards to what you say you don't understand.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • booboo

      enjay. have you researched the horrible results of government who rule by lack of religion? its just as bad..

      January 26, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • blinded by the light

      booboo
      "Government by lack of religion" Oh...That was their problem. I thought it was because of their lack of witchcraft.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  20. TAK

    I wonder... What if someone gave out cards on a flight that said "Praise Allah". How quickly would they be put on a different plane... straight to Guantanamo?

    January 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Observer

      You are right. Christians would go nuts.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • booboo

      if the flight always had them, i wouldnt have an issue. I would have an issue if they tried to pull them as well.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Urban Girl

      If it was an Iranian company, I would would not be offended to receive a "Praise Allah" card. Of course, I have a choice as to where I spend my money. So do the "offended" flyers. Good grief!!!!

      January 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • CaEd

      Observer – Go????

      January 26, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • RNB

      I am Christian, and I wouldn't care. It is not hurting me, and other people have the right to practice their faith. I respect that.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • John

      Allah means God in Arabic your moron

      January 26, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
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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.