Are there some award trips that I just shouldn’t book for clients on moral grounds?
I’m not talking about routing rules and whether to push the envelope with a program over what is allowable for getting a stopover. I’m talking about some awards that I just shouldn’t book because of who they are for or where they are going?
I received a request this morning that made me uncomfortable, though I fully admit that I don’t yet have all of the information about what’s motivating the trip.
A woman wants two award tickets from the U.S. to Iran — one roundtrip for herself, and one one-way ticket for her 8 year old daughter.
I’ve spent the morning thinking about this, and here are some tentative thoughts:
- I’m not a public utility. I don’t have an obligation to serve any request that is brought to me. It’s ok for me to turn down a booking request that makes me uncomfortable.
- I’m not sure that the full story even matters. Perhaps the arrangement is that the father is already in Iran and is responsible for the tickets home for the girl, that’s why the mother only wants me to book one-way. Or perhaps there’s some other explanation. I have no way to know the veracity of the story even if it’s shared with me, and no matter how benign sounding I will always wonder if the girl came back. Or if I somehow participated in sending an 8 year old girl one-way to Iran to live.
- That’s a view based on ignorance (lack of full information) but I cannot really get full information, so I have no choice but to formulate my decisions on partial information, which is something we do in making moral choices all the time.
- This position very much judges Iran, and judges Islam, and as much as I tend towards moral relativism I don’t want any part of sending an 8 year old girl from the US to Iran. I don’t want to participate in sending a girl into a society which subjugates women, and I fear assisting in a trip which could lead to female genital mutilation.
I don’t believe I would be uniquely making it possible for the girl to go, even permanently, by helping the mother use miles for the trip. After all, they can still buy tickets, they just might not be flying business class. Yet I still think that if the trip is one-way permanently to Iran, I at least shouldn’t make it easier or more comfortable.
I’ve turned away a customer. What would you have done?