Having never flown Alaska Airlines, it was news to us that for 30 years, together with their meals, the airline has distributed prayer cards featuring serene color pictures and verses from the Book of Psalms. Now we’ll never have a chance to get
one, as the airline announced that it will stop distributing the cards as of February 1. The airline introduced the cards as a marketing gimmick, copying them form a rival airline. Perhaps they were particularly necessary in Alaska, the state with the highest rate of airplane accidents in the nation.
An airline spokesperson said changes in customer feedback about the cards led to their retirement
Airline spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said the decision was made after hearing from customers who preferred not to mix religion with transportation. The decision reflects respect for the diverse religious beliefs and cultural attitudes of Alaska Airlines’ customers and employees, the company said in announcing the change.
“Some customers were comforted by the cards and some didn’t feel religion was appropriate on the plane and preferred not to receive one,” she said.
For a long time, Alaska Airlines got more positive comments than negatives ones. But lately, opinion has shifted.
Egan said the decision was made out of respect for all of their customers.
“After carefully considering all sides, it was agreed that eliminating the cards was the right thing to do,” Egan said.
The airline sent an email to its frequent flyers on Wednesday explaining the change that will take effect Feb. 1.
“Religious beliefs are deeply personal and sharing them with others is an individual choice,” said the email signed by both airline CEO Bill Ayer and President Brad Tilden.
The email said some of its customers enjoyed the cards but others were offended by them.
“It is important that everyone know that this decision does not change our core values nor our care for our customers,” the email said.
And, like that, another quirky airline tradition ends. What other quirky airline handouts are out there that we don’t know about?