While in no way materially significant (in my opinion), the execution of this is interesting. I think the email that was sent out to Alaska Mileage Plan members speaks for itself.
At Alaska Airlines, we have provided prayer cards to our customers for more than 30 years. A former marketing executive borrowed the idea from another airline and introduced the cards to our passengers in the late 1970s to differentiate our service.
The cards have been provided only to our First Class customers since meal tray service ended in coach six years ago. Beginning February 1, 2012, however, we’ll be eliminating the cards entirely. This difficult decision was not made lightly. 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.
Some of you enjoy the cards and associate them with our service. We also know some of you consider the cards to be a tradition that reflects your own spiritual beliefs. 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. Religious beliefs are deeply personal and sharing them with others is an individual choice.
It’s important that everyone know that this decision does not change our core values nor our care for our customers. We’ll continue to distinguish ourselves through the pride and professionalism of our people on every flight and in our communities.
Our priority at Alaska is to fly our passengers to their destinations safely, on time and with their bags. We thank you for the opportunity to serve you and for the chance to demonstrate this commitment each time you fly with us.
Chairman and CEO, Alaska Air Group
President, Alaska Airlines
The prayer cards have long been controversial, but what I find so interesting about this is that they think this warrants a lengthy email signed by both the President and Chairman/CEO. We’re talking about a little card on a tray. Yet, interestingly, the last time they substantially devalued their elite benefits (by adding fare restrictions to their confirmable upgrades), no email was sent out to members explaining the change.
Aside from the ridiculousness of the communication (in my opinion), what do you guys think about the change?
a) Dumb move, they shouldn’t deviate from their values
b) Smart move, a prayer card was offensive to many
c) Who the hell