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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. Carrol

    "Let your light so shine before men that they my see your good works and glorify the Father in heaven." Unfortunately, I haven't used Alaska Airlines. You should have continued to distributed the cards to everyone and not just first class. Remember, planes do fall. Who will you call on when the plane is falling?

    January 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Hooligan

      no one since the plane is going to crash regardless if you call on anyone.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • sam

      I really hate flying, and the last time I ran into turbulence so bad that everyone on the plane started freaking out, I mostly clutched the handrests and hoped it would be quickly OVER, one way or another. I didn't think about praying to anyone to be saved, I just concentrated on not making the situation worse by freaking out.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Observer

      Who will you call on when the plane is falling?

      The pilot. Hopefully he isn't spending his time reading religious cards.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • sam

      Or drunk. Please let the pilot be sober.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  2. Someone

    I always thought this was more marketing than anything overtly religious – I'm sure the real reason Alaska is cutting the cards isa to save money in the long haul. Also, in-flight meal service is becoimng a thing of teh past rapidly.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • sam

      I think you're right, it really does come down to cost savings/figuring out what will allow the most customers.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  3. John

    I hate all religion, including atheism !

    January 26, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  4. john

    aren't we all so smart and full of ourselves

    January 26, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  5. Hooligan

    here is what I don't understand. These little cards are for people to essentially "pray". Those that are already christian do this, and those that are not don't. Who are the cards for? The faithful who don't need the cards since they already prey? It seems to me it is an advertising method geared towards the faithless, AKA.. those who don't WANT to pray. And when we say we DONT want to pray... The Faithful tell us to stop complaining and suck it up?

    We need to suck up you forcing your faith on to us while we are physically stuck with you over 20,000 feet in the air?

    If not Christian at the very least it is obnoxious.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • sam

      I see your point, but in the interest of Freudian amusement I have to point out the 'prey' part. LOL

      January 26, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Hooligan

      typo.. but yes it is indeed funny.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • sam

      I loved it. Sorry for hijacking your post, LOL

      January 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  6. Faith is important

    Madalyn Murray O`Hair – the founder of American Atheist – the most hated woman that got rid of prayers from public schools thru a law sue – got murdered by another Atheist. LOOOOOOL this just proof how dumb cr^p Atheists are!!!

    January 26, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Hooligan

      A doctor who performed abortions was shot to death by a Christian

      your move

      January 26, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Bill

      Try reading your own book lady. Atheists have existed since the first time someone suggested there might be a god.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • sam

      Or that humans in general are jerks with their own agendas, for the most part, no matter what they believe or don't. You're already prone to leaps of faith, I guess, so have at it...

      January 26, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      I'll take that one Hooligan....the doctor killed thousands.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Hooligan

      you can take it all you want.. in a court of law he was legally allowed to help with those abortions.. in a court of law the christian was NOT allowed to kill another man.

      your move again

      January 26, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Observer

      Faith,

      The biggest loss of American lives in any war came from the Civil War where Christians killed Christians.

      Oooooops.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      70+% of abortions in the USA are had by believers.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • sam

      Irony hurts.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • TR6

      “that got rid of prayers from public schools”

      Typical spoiled brat Christian over exaggerating again. What she got rid of was organized, forced, mandatory prayers to the Christian god. But then you probably believe that forcing people to pray to your god is a good idea. Any student or teacher can pray all they want in school they just can’t make a big deal about it. Besides, your god must be some kind of wimp if a single law can cancel all of the prayers of his faithful

      January 28, 2012 at 2:34 am |
  7. tony

    I believe in cause and effect.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  8. Old Larry

    So, If God loves us, why would he send us to hell for not following religious rules? Why would God want to be worshiped anyway? Are all religious people good and all non-religious people bad? Why would God frequently intervene frequently 2K years ago and only appear in grilled cheese sandwiches today? Etc, etc.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Faith is important

      Please give us all a favor... take your physcho pill and take a nap

      January 26, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • sam

      Faith, adding 'is important' to your original handle doesn't hide you very well, especially when you're using the same rhetoric about pills that you were before. You look silly. And like a n00b.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • md2205

      These are important questions and these topics are discussed in the website chabad.org. Please take a look there.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  9. ab_contador

    now i might consider flying them - i dont go to In and Out burger beacuse of their religious junk on the cups either

    January 26, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Faith is important

      I hope the airplane will be full of atheist passangers and pilots, and God will punish all of you and the airplane will crash :D

      January 26, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • sam

      At least she finally learned how to spell crash....

      January 26, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • bnb42

      Faith:
      Science builds airplanes.... Religious nutjobs fly them into buildings....

      January 26, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  10. dewed

    Apparently, Alaska Airlines Flight 261 didn't have quite enough good Christian prayer onboard when it crashed. Or, was God calling all 88 of his children home? I love Christianity. If someone murders my wife, it's because God wanted her to "come home." If she survives an attempted murder, it's because of God, the strength of prayer, and so on.

    How can you people swallow this baloney?

    January 26, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • reallyfubar

      I'm looking for the "like" button, dewed... I couldn't agree more!

      January 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • sam

      People can justify just about anything if they try hard enough.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  11. Toby Dana

    people who believe in absurdities commit atrocities

    January 26, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  12. Matthew/NJ

    I had an Atheistic bumber sticker and lasted only for less than an hour at the local mall in 'less religious' New Jersey. My car got key scratches all over, and someone removed the bumber sticker from my car. I was afraid to tell the mall that I had an bumber sticker saying there's no God :(

    January 26, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • booboo

      maybe god did it

      January 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • sam

      I love the idea of God running around keying cars with bumper stickers He doesn't like. That would make a great SNL skit.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • John

      I love that atheists capitalize 'God' and show respect :)

      January 26, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • sam

      Well, I see you're trying to get one over on me for it, but really, it's easy to treat God like a proper name; same I would for Zeus or Allah or Yahweh, since by just typing 'god' I could be speaking of any god in general, instead of specifying the Judeo-Christian/Abrahamic God.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Observer

      John,

      Please take a basic elementary school class in English and learn about proper nouns, you know, like Charles Manson.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  13. willie

    Freedom from religion is equally important as freedom of religion.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Faith

      You all sound so full of anger and spite. Why is that? Is that part of aetheism?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • sam

      After all the other stuff posted on the last few pages, you think willie's post is mean? It's the calmest, most fact based thing I've seen on here yet. Faith...you're an idiot.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • willie

      A perfect example of how religion damages ones ability to see reality. All I stated was freedom from your beliefs is my right. I never said anything with anger or spite. I feel sorry for people like you.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • sam

      And you still can't spell...Jesus Christ!!

      January 26, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Faith

      Have you ever had any hardships in your life? ever lost a loved one? ever experienced a tragedy?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • booboo

      willie. religion DEFINITELY damages ones ability to see. We got athiests all over spending money on billboards saying 'god doesnt exist' instead of seeing that their money could feed the hungry.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • willie

      of course I have, I am human after all. The difference is I seek to understand the mysteries of life rather than simply chalking it up to gods will, whatever that is.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • sam

      I think Faith's point about having suffered tragedy is that it's either supposed to show you how god can help, or....it's because he punished you for something. Faith, I wish there was a heaven and a loving god like my mom believed, because she deserves that. Sadly, the fact is that she snapped off like a light one evening, and she has not gone anywhere, because there's nowhere to go. At least she isn't suffering...that's the part that really counts.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Observer

      booboo,

      Which side has spent FAR FAR FAR more on advertizing their side? Believers or atheists?

      Welcome back to the REAL world.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  14. Faith

    What do aetheists believe?

    January 26, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • sam

      They believe in spelling things correctly.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • bnb42

      Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an att.tude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature part of nature. Carl Sagan

      January 26, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Bill

      Atheists don't need to believe in anything. The moment of belief is the same moment that your mind shuts off and simply accepts something you wish to be true. I feel it is better to keep learning and eventually find understanding. Much more useful than mindless belief.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • bp

      That religious people are stupid and can't spell.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Madalyn Murray O`Hair

      An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist believes that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, war eliminated.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • tony

      What we honestly discover. What do you believe that hasn't only come from someone else?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • logan5

      The answer to your question is simple "Faith."
      Atheists, for the most part, believe that whatever it is that led to the Big Bang and our subsequent creation is an UNKNOWN and therefore unknowable. And if it is "unknowable" then no one group has any business claiming exclusive rights to this unknown even to go as far as to characterize it and name it. This is absurd! In a nutshell, atheists (the smart ones, anyhow) believe that claiming exclusive knowledge of the supernatural (the unknown) is DISHONEST therefore religion is dishonest.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Bill

      Logan, you couldn't be more wrong. Do you honestly think all atheists believe in the big bang theory? Open your eyes and see young one.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • booboo

      it all depends on what denomination of athiesm they are. Ive seen some athiests fight each other over ideas (example: one guy said he had faith in his wife, and the other guy said faith doesnt exist..like at all) and they went at it. I think most athiests dont even understand what they believe, its just a trendy way to go because they think it makes them look "logical".. i say "live long and prosper, oh athiestic wizards!"

      January 26, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • booboo

      ha ha.. so bills post up there about the big bang theory is just proving my point.. theyre all so arrogant they also assume all athiests believe what they do.. what a bunch of maroons...

      January 26, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Bill

      booboo, your name is very appropriate. Before commenting on someone else' post perhaps you should try reading it first. Maroon is a color.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Faith

      Willie, if you're still there, as you're discovering all the mysteries of life, don't discount Christianity. Everything in life is a mystery. Use your curiosity and passion to learn about it as you learn about all other mysteries. Give it a chance. Wouldn't hurt:):):):) Good Night and God bless..........................

      January 26, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • TR6

      “What do aetheists believe?”

      That’s the whole point, we don’t

      January 28, 2012 at 2:55 am |
  15. Carol

    I flew on Alaska Airlines and appreciated not only the service but the prayer card that was included with our meal. I actually kept the prayer card and have it in my souvenier book about that trip. Sorry to see something like this eliminated.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • logan5

      You are sorry to see them eliminate these cards but are you also sorry for the blatant disrespect these cards dealt to those cash paying customers of Alaska Airlines who were not Christian or who were atheist. The word "empathy" comes to mind.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • booboo

      hey logon. i seriously doubt it was as massive of an infringement of ones sanity as you state. jeesh some people are so fuzzy around the navel.. chill out.. ha ha

      January 26, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Chad

      I appreciate that a commercial enterprise would do something like that, but at the same time (even though I am an evangelical Christian), the last thing I would want get handed upon boarding a plane is a prayer card :-)

      Deplaning is a different matter, that would be fine.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  16. mfx3

    If I was handed a prayer card with my in-flight meal, I'd probably puke everything I ate onto the floor. What a miserable thing to do to a captive audience.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • sam

      Based on how bad airplane food tends to be, that was likely a foregone conclusion.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • booboo

      oh my god, are you serious? you better grow a thicker skin or your not gonna make it too much further in life.. a prayer card on a plane makes you puke? god forbid your boss ever yells at you or some old lady shoots you a bird.. ha ha!!! oh my goodness..

      January 26, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  17. Atheism is NOT healthy for our children and living things...

    Prayer changes...

    January 26, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Martin

      The belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie can make you live forever if you accept a blood sacrifice and symbolically eat his flesh and drink his blood, and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a woman made from a rib was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree: makes perfect sense

      January 26, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • bnb42

      Let us pray:

      Oh lord please save us from your followers....

      Amen

      January 26, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • sam

      God please save us from people who think they're doing God's work...

      January 26, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • booboo

      martin. ive seen your post with the whole cosmic zobie and eating flesh thing like millions of time.. wow, talk about sheep following the crowd. dont you have an intelligent original thought in your head about religion or the person known as jesus? you are content with just copying and pasting the same old rhetoric over and over and over again?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • sam

      booboo, I thought you were busy living in the light of God's love every day of your life. Does He want you here posting this stuff endlessly? Is that His plan for you?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • booboo

      hey sam.. that actually makes me feel good man. Im glad you took that post to heart. i know you're hungry for it, some of what i got over here in the light.. wish you were here for me to put my arm around you and tell you not to worry about your mom.. that stuff will work itself out and shell be fine; you guys have been through worse. you guys just stick together.. you know what i mean ;)

      January 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • sam

      ::sigh:: booboo, of course she's ok. She's no longer in a dying body. Beyond that, I've got no idea what's after, no control of it, and therefore can't do much more but be sentimental enough to hope her beliefs were true in her case because I wanted the best for her beyond my own ability to reason, and the best in her case was whatever gave her peace. It's a standard human reaction.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  18. WDinDallas

    Strap the atheists to the wing. Not enough of them....their opinion is moot.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • MKT

      Spoken like a true bigot. Does it really matter whether we believe in God or not? No it doesn't affect anyone around you unless you shove it in their face, I am a Christian myself and I hate people like Tim Tebow because of how he flaunts it in front of everyone and those people that leave fake $10 prayer cards as tips are only distancing people away from Christ. People will seek God in their own way. If you force feed the idea to people and expected it to grow in to belief you are sadly mistaken.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • sam

      I don't get it. Humans of any faith/lack of faith are not aerodynamic. Was this joke funny in your bible study class?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • O.S. Bird

      Won't you have to answer to Jesus for your hateful comment? No? Jesus would approve?!?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • logan5

      Strap atheists to the wing and ......what?? What were you trying to say?? LOL

      January 26, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  19. Staring Horse with Tongue Stick Out

    Please my Lord Jesus Christ – forgive me for anything bad I have been saying – because I will and want to enter kingdom of heaven, unlike my follower Atheist friends who will not see paradise :(

    January 26, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • sam

      I can't believe this fake Staring Horse was smart enough to spell 'tongue' correctly...hmm, must have been copy/paste.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Joe

      Where's your evidence of this kingdom, and how do you know you have the right one?

      January 26, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Sticking Out

      Sam – LOL

      January 26, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • logan5

      That's right @Staring Horse with Tongue Stick Out
      We atheists will not see paradise and neither will 1/2 of the human population which is over 3 billion people since a big chunk of humanity is NOT Christian. And they are not Christian because your god either wasn't smart enough or powerful enough to telepathically tell the other cultures on the planet around at the time about his existence. It seems he only told a tiny enclave in the Middle East. Hmmm....seems a bit suspect does it not??

      January 26, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Sticking Out

      Sorry Logan, that was not me. Just a stalker. I am an Athiest.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:07 am |
  20. Karen

    Thank you, Alaska, for stopping that crap but what took you so long?

    January 26, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Stick Out

      Convert to Christianity or you will be sent to hell and suffer in +5000 degrees Fahrenheit

      January 26, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Martin

      ditto...

      January 26, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • booboo

      you couldnt care less about alaska airlines or what they do.. youre just happy to have a reason to say 'crap'..

      January 26, 2012 at 10:39 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.