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Religions and Cultural Sensitivity

November 4, 2014 Blog, English for Flight Attendants, Listening, Reading No Comments

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Religions and Cultural Sensitivity

A separate and explicit training of different religions and cultures is an essential part of the overall training for all airport officials and crew members and the reason for this is quite apparent. Airline staff and crew come across people from various nationalities and cultures and each of these have their own unique practices and requirements.  While the Jews may need kosher meals, some Hindus may want completely vegetarian fare. And food is not the only sensitivity that we are talking about.

Educating the airline crews about different religions and cultures is imperative for them to have a better understanding of how specific religions and cultures function. The need for the same is evident from an incident with a US Airways flight in Minneapolis where six Muslim Imams were ejected by authorities because passengers and crew found their prayer rituals unnerving.

Religion and cultural training serves to achieve the following goals

-          It provides an understanding and appreciation of diversity

-          It helps people be more cooperative towards the needs of people from different nations

-          Better understanding also removes religious conflicts and culture-related tug-of-wars

-          It improves communication among people who come from various backgrounds and cultures

For example, the Muslim sensitivity training organized by TSA (Transportation Security Administration) specially includes details about the timing of Hajj travel, items that need to be carried by Muslim travelers going on a Hajj and particulars about their prayer rituals. This ensures that the travelers are not pestered and harassed about specific religious items that they are supposed to carry or the manner in which they are dressed.

While religion and cultural sensitivity training is critical for the airlines industry, it is becoming evident that such training is required for any business that spans countries.  Even when you are dealing with a Chinese supplier, understanding their body language and background helps in assessing their psychology and leads to better partnerships.

Some news reports:

Read 1

Read 2


Questions and Answers

1. Why were 6 Imams ejected from a US Airways flight in Minneapolis?

A)     Because their prayer rituals were causing discomfort to other passengers and the crew

B)      Because they were carrying arms

C)      Because they refused to listen to the crew members

D)     None of the above

2. Which of the following is NOT a part of religions and cultural training?

A)     Understanding diversity

B)      Decreasing undue conflict which is based on differences in culture

C)      Improving communication

D)     Discriminating against passengers of a certain religion

3. What does unnerving mean?

A)     Comforting

B)      Not affecting at all

C)      Frightening

D)     Tending to make a person angry

4. Which of the following are examples of how cultural training to airline crew can benefit passengers (select ALL that apply)

A)     Avoiding undue discrimination based on culture or religion

B)      Making allowances for prayer rituals

C)      Carrying items  pertaining one’s religion

D)     Carrying prohibited products

5. What is the meaning of imperative?

A)     Vital

B)      Not necessary

C)      Biased

D)     Not important



1) A

2) D

3) C

4) A, B, C

5) A

Read a little more about other countries and culture!

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