Travel and Religion

Good things to know when preparing for your flight: Travel and Religion

Travel and Religion

Travel and Religion

The public spotlight that brings into sharp focus the subject of travel and religion today seems to shine more brightly on the question of precautions than on religious accommodation. It places great pressure on airlines to maintain a neutral stance and be impartial to the needs of every passenger across the entire religious spectrum. Flights on most airlines have no discriminatory regulations that must be adhered to, and the utmost care is taken to ensure that every passenger feels safe and comfortable aboard a flight. Airlines are, however, bound by the laws of the country of destination.

To Fly or Not to Fly

Passengers choosing flights to countries that place certain restrictions on travellers must be prepared to honour those restrictions and comply with that country's regulations regarding visitors. The decision not to carry passengers of a particular religious persuasion is not made by specific airlines but by legislators within specific countries and no airline can bypass these laws. In cases of extreme emergency, a flight cannot be opened to persons considered undesirable unless successful negotiations have been concluded between the embassies or the legal representatives of the countries involved; airlines have no negotiating or decision-making powers under any such circumstances.

The Airline Obligation

The ground staff and cabin crews of most western airlines are obliged to treat every passenger, regardless of ethnicity, national origin or religion, with equal respect and consideration both pre-flight and in-flight. No passenger may be unduly searched, intimidated or harassed based on their looks or religion and breaches of conduct are viewed in a serious light. An airline's obligation is to carry passengers to their destination safely and comfortably while remaining respectful of relevant rules and regulations.

Passenger Obligations

Passengers on all flights are required to submit to any reasonable requests regarding safety and security onboard. Luggage items considered hazardous in any way should be removed if so requested and left in the custody of airline staff to be retrieved on return. Refusal by a passenger to submit to any such request may result in the cancellation of their flight reservation. Once on board passengers should seat themselves according to prior seat allocation if applicable. Passengers must also comply with the completion of any documentation related to entry to the country of destination when requested to do so. A passenger is required to give the airline prior notice of any special religious dietary requirements.

Mutual Regard for Comfort and Safety

Although some national airlines do discriminate against passengers of certain religious persuasions or nationality, most western airlines have no such policies, and their airports make provision for pre-flight religious rituals across all religious denominations. The choice of whether to visit certain destinations is at the complete discretion of passengers; the onus for compliance to rules and regulations regarding the passenger's visit lies equally with both the airline and the passenger. With prior notice, an airline will be happy to meet the religious dietary requirements of any passenger and respectfully assist with any other religious issues that may arise. With religion being the contentious issue that it is today, mutual respect seems the order of the day.

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