Reply To: Business travel during Ramadan

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I suppose commercial imperative will always trump religious sensitivities.

I’ve always felt that people should be free to follow whatever religious or cultural practices they like, so long as they don’t adversely affect others. But the issue of food on planes is an interesting one – if I want a bacon sandwich, but your religion and the country we’re flying to prohibits it, who’s imposing on who?

I suppose it’s a matter of degree, and ease of implementation. I flew back from Kuala Lumpur on Malaysia Airlines the othet day; daylight flight, food served as normal. As the flag carrier of a Muslim-majority nation, they could (in theory) require fasting to be observed by simply carrying no food or drink on board. They’d no doubt save a huge amount of fuel! But they’d also have very empty flights as anyone not fasting would likely find that intolerable. Big impact. On the other hand, swapping out a (pork) bacon sandwich for one made of, say, beef or turkey bacon, really shouldn’t be a big deal. I assume BA feels not doing so would have a commercial impact (or perhaps a brand one – but I would have thought there’s more positive PR/goodwill to be had from being respectful of other customs?). Then again, airlines could also swap champagne for rose water on Middle Eastern flights (as the F1 Grand Prix podium ceremonies do when there) but I suspect that wouldn’t go down too well!

How about this – should an airline not serve peanuts if someone on board has an allergy to them? I recall a flight once where this happened and an announcement was made asking passengers not to open any packets they may have brought on board. Must have been quite some allergy, and while I have no particular objection to the precaution, it does raise the question of whether the at-risk person should have been on board if the risk was that severe. But equally is it fair to deny them travel? Probably not.

Thinking about culture rather than religion, out of curiosity, how would people feel if an airline served, say, dog meat, or shark fin soup (perhaps some already do?), or – just to take it to an extreme for the sake of argument – human? Which gives me an idea – “Cannibalair. Flight overbooked? No problem! We’ll free up seats after takeoff!” I suppose it would bring a whole new meaning to “Window seat or aisle?” If you were already in the middle seat.

Also reminds me of the other DNAdams’ fictional planet Bethselamin…

Perhaps airlines should serve cans of worms 😉

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