If you're a frequent flyer on Alaska Airlines -- or if you're a fan of prayer -- a recent announcement from that company will likely pique your interest. Starting February 1, the airline will stop its more than 30-year practice of handing out prayer cards on meal trays to airline passengers.
The reason for the policy change, based on statements from head executives, is what one would expect: Some recipients have complained that they're offended by the cards.
"Some of you enjoy the cards and associate them with our service. 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," Alaska Air Group CEO Bill Ayer and President Brad Tilden wrote in an email to customers.
"Religious beliefs are deeply personal and sharing them with others is an individual choice," they continued.
But it's not just the prayer aspect that makes some people nervous. Gordon Bowker, the co-founder of Starbucks and Redhook Ale Brewery, has qualms over the prayer cards for a different reason.
"I'd get a clutch in my stomach when I read it," he explains. "My reasoning was, if they put that card on the plate, they must be worried that something bad was going to happen. If they're worried, I'm worried."
It should be noted that only first-class customers have received the cards since 2006. It was during that year that Alaska Airlines stopped providing customers in coach with meals presented on trays. Additionally, the cards are only distributed on flights longer than four hours.
Here's what Gawker had to say about this impending policy change:
If nothing else, the new policy will even out the playing field in terms of potential salvation.
Passengers in coach, the godless "steerage" of modern air travel, stopped receiving airline-provided prayer cards six years ago.
It seems this is one tradition the airline simply didn't want to keep up with. Of course, it's entirely valid that, for business purposes, leaders decided that offending a portion of customers wasn't good for finances.
What do you think? Do you agree with Alaska Airlines' decision to remove the cards? Take our poll: