Business travel during RamadanBack to Forum
On another thread I mentioned to Ahmed if he as a Muslim had encountered challenges when observing the rules about fasting and prayer during Ramadan when on business travel. This made me think about other food or religious challenges that business travel throws up. I as a non practicing Christian who eats just about anything has it easy but I am aware of the problems sometimes faced by friends who observe faith rules.
Any stories or observations ?30 May 2017
A colleague of mine who happens to be a Jehovah’s Witness was required to travel to Australia on a business trip and the travel department routed him via SIN. He said he was not prepared to travel via a country where his religion and the practice of it were banned.
Our senior manager called me in to ask me to try to persuade him to change his mind, thinking that I, as an atheist, would probably tell him not to be so stupid. Unfortunately for her, she’d misjudged me and I supported him.30 May 2017
At Brussels airport they have had issues with the Orthodox Jewish community from the followers of Haredi Judaism who refuse all interaction with women they are not related to. This has caused problems for El Al and has seen people being removed from aircraft after they had argued with crew.
I have Muslim friends who seem to have varying views depending on their upbringing with regard to the rules around Ramadan, some are very observant and even forgo travel during the month, others find ‘workarounds’. I remember the enormous debate around the Saudi astronaut who from memory was a Col. Al-Bassam and how he would be facing Mecca for prayer when in space and moving at 17,150 miles per hour !30 May 2017
Glad you started the topic and made it politically correct and more inclusive than the title suggests. Can I take a rain check on responding for now? As promises go, I will try to post my experiences in the next few days.30 May 2017
Thank you @charles-p. Is your name Charles? It would be useful to know when addressing you.
Contrary to what many people think, fasting does not simply mean abstaining from food and drink from dawn to dusk. It includes abstaining from smoking, abusive language and all other forms of immorality including being untruthful. It also requires abstention from sex during the fast. On the positive side, while fasting one is required to strictly adhere to the requirements of all other religious obligations including the ritual prayers five times a day. Non-adherence invalidates the fast. For those on the Forum who are not aware of the rules on fasting while travelling, here’s a crash course:
Fasting while travelling can be tedious and nigh impossible depending on the journey and mode of transport. When one is away from home, the rules relating to both fasting and the obligatory prayers are less rigorous. One can combine the noon and afternoon prayers and say them at the same time. Similarly, the evening and night prayers can be combined and said together. The Quranic injunction on fasting specifically excludes those who are sick or those who are travelling from the obligation to fast during Ramadan. For those who are able to, the obligation is to fast on a later date. Those who are not able to fast even on a later date are required to give food to others enabling them to fast.
With this background, it must also be kept in mind that one is required to carry on one’s daily routine during Ramadan. It is not obligatory to do so but it is recommended. Those who choose to take a holiday are welcome to do so, there is no prohibition. But most people simply carry on with their lives.
With the lunar year being shorter than the solar, Ramadan occurs during different seasons and consequently, unless you are very near the equator, the length of the day varies. The longest I have fasted has been in London in 1979 when the fast commenced at about 2:45 am and ended at about 9:45 pm.
In this view, while travelling, one has to take into consideration everything from where one is going, to what season it is, how long one would be in the air, when one would land and when is one likely to be in a hotel room after landing before deciding whether or not to fast on a particular journey. As I said in another thread, I no longer fast when I am going to fly for longer than about two hours because of the effects of dehydration. On such occasions I simply fast on another day when at home.
As promised, experiences to follow sooner rather than later, time permitting.30 May 2017
@ahmad – Ramadan Mubarak. I know its the start of Ramadan as my neighbour gives an open house to all her Jewish friends for dinner as the Ramadan fast is broken, each night. We always reciprocate when we break the singular annual fast for Yom Kippur.
As a practising Jewish person, I get embarrassed each time I witness a Haredi Jew “kicking off” when they are sat next to an unknown women on a flight. It could so easily be avoided, if the Haredi’s would book and pay for a seat in advance to ensure the groups were not sat next to a women.
I am also embarrassed when passengers decide to start praying just as the aircraft is about to descend or hits turbulence. They will always ignore the instructions of Cabin Crew, which I think is very very wrong.
There is a departure route out of TLV that overflies a cemetery. If anyone ever witnesses this…. trust me, it is true
I find this very very embarrassing.
On the flip side, I think it is very insensitive when airlines serve inappropriate food on routes to Israel. I have witnessed bacon sandwiches on BA to TLV as well as shrimp cocktail.. very insensitive.
I read a very interesting article over the weekend about Premiership footballers and how they face Ramadan.
I think it is sad when a professional footballer has to lie to his manager about whether he eats or not. He should be judged by is performance on field.31 May 2017
@martynsinclair – why is it insensitive for British Airways to serve non Kosher food on a flight to TLV? What about the passengers on the flight who are not Jewish or would like a choice? One can always pre-order food if one has a specific requirement.
Are you suggesting that all airlines that fly to Israel only serve kosher food – really?
I don’t eat halal meat as I believe is causes an animal unnecessary suffering, pain and distress. However, I accept that this is going to be served on my EK or QR flight, I don’t think it is insensitive or wrong, how arrogant would that be? I just choose not to eat it. It is public transport and there are other people on the world.31 May 2017
DNAdams – I wonder why you think Halal or Kosher food preparation causes “unnecessary suffering, pain and distress” compared to non faith methods. My vegetarian daughter will tell you very clearly that any death of an animal to provide food for a human is by definition cruel. We don’t need to kill animals to survive.
Having been to a slaughterhouse on more than one occasion I can tell you there is very little if any compassion shown for the animals, it’s a production line of death. That being said I eat meat because I like the taste and I happen to think we humans are by nature predators who won the lottery of life.
Death by whatever method is still death, the fact that some choose to invoke their personal invisible wizard and his book of stories into the proceedings doesn’t change that.31 May 2017
Ramadan Kareem Ahmad, a lot of the travel I do in the APAC region is to Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia so am very aware of the restrictions and time needed to plan trips or just going about everyday life at this time of year
I am always very aware of my surroundings when through this holy month and make sure I do not offend or do anything that makes fasting difficult.
I have always been a huge fan of the celebration of breaking the fast and have been invited to many Iftar’s in Malaysia when I lived there and have enjoyed many a discussion about religions and faith..
I have flown a number of times on EK when its been Ramadan and they have kept the passengers informed when the fast will end at wherever the plane is situated at that time, and they have tried to appease the passengers with their dietary requirements and get the food to the fasters first which I totally agree with.
I was not aware of the ability to carry days over, that certainly would help if you did a lot of travelling through the holy month. As a Jew we get one day and if you are travelling or miss it you dont get a second chance!
DNAdams I find your comments a little strong, yes its a choice and I personally would eat anything put in front of me, but if a plane is going to Saudi I am sure they would not have Bacon or Pork on there so why do it to TLV where the same rules apply no? I believe Martyn was just suggesting tolerance of the fact nothing else..
As for the killing of animals I am totally with Charles-P on this, they are going to be killed anyway and the fact they are killed with a super sharp knife which is supposed to be more humane why is that any difference to an animal being stunned and killed in another way? I personally love the taste of meat and will eat it anyway.
Back to the point, I hope Ramadan is treating you well Ahmad and to all of other denominations a very happy Wednesday31 May 2017
@k1ngston – sorry if you feel my comments are too strong, that is my opinion. Although, I am unsure why you have picked on Saudi as an exception as I would feel the same way if the flight was to Saudi and would not want my choice removed, not all the passengers will have the same beliefs or dietary restrictions and I think they should all have choice and not have it made for them for them due to other peoples beliefs and the risk of offending them. If I was in Saudi or Tel Aviv then that would be different and I always respect local customs and rules. As I said before this is public transport. Where does it end – no beef on all flights to India or alcohol free flights to Kerala? I presume British Airways serve alcohol on flights to Saudi?
The opinion on the right way to kill animals is clearly divided, my opinion is that letting an animal bleed to death is cruel and I personally choose not to eat it. I have found that they tend to have a veggie option available nowadays.31 May 2017
DNAdams I chose Saudi as a diametrically opposed place to Israel is all for the purposes of my point… I have nothing against Saudis per se
My point is that maybe we have to be aware of people on such flights that have certain religious requirements. I am not one of those people who likes to dictate I just want people to feel comfortable is all….31 May 2017
Imagine a world where people followed rules and practices driven by science not those of religion. I understand that ‘faith’ is an important thing to some people, including some regular contributors to the forum but if I had one wish I would grant this planet the end of all religion.31 May 2017
The concern seems to be about flights to countries that have specific customs and religions. I fully agree that you should respect the culture and customs of a country that you are visiting, but while in flight you are not in that country.
Each flight has a country where the flight originated, not just a destination. Would Martyn say it is OK to serve bacon sandwiches on flights to London from TLV as the destination enjoys a bacon sarnie? There is a choice of pre-ordering, or carrying on board any food that the passenger wants.
I also have great sympathy with Charles-P’s last posting, and I have a son, and daughter in law, who are both vicars.31 May 2017
I was not trying to open a religious debate, I was pointing out issues from another religion and how they impact on business travel and work as per the Charles-P’s opening comments.
With regards to serving bacon sarnies / Shrimp cocktail on flights to and from TLV, I think the airline is wrong. I also believe in choice, but you can provide choice and at the same time remain respectful. Same on the return leg, TLV to London – you can cater for the majority with respect and still provide choice.
We are always taught to dress to respect where you are going, doesn’t take away the choice of what you will wear….31 May 2017