When referring to the research presented in the Muslim Business Traveler Insights 2016 (MBTI 2016) report by CrescentRating and Mastercard, the travel patterns of the average Muslim business traveler is similar to that of regular business travelers. But there are significant differences when it comes to their requirements – such as the availability of Halal dining options and amenities including the importance of prayer facilities.
The MBTI 2016 report has shown that the average Muslim traveler will have to make compromises when praying and performing ablution on board the plane – since the majority of the airlines have yet to provide prayer facilities for Muslim travelers.
During flights, the MBTI 2016 report shows that 47 percent of Muslim travelers pray in their seats with 36 percent praying after arrival and only 17 percent try to pray standing. Muslim travelers can ask the a member of the cabin crew if they would permit them to pray standing up – some airlines might accommodate this, but others might decline due to flight safety measures or security issues. Most travelers choose to pray in their seats due to lack of space and convenience on board the plane, some of the issues can also include personal safety and security risks. Some have found praying after arrival to be more convenient as some airports have multi-faith or prayer rooms or even mosques – some might even choose to visit the mosque closest to the airport.
The average Muslim business traveler might be pressed for time when travelling through transit flights or they might have to spend hours in the airport and decide to perform prayers in designated prayer rooms. One of the main issues common among most travelers is not being able to stand while praying - unless the plane is not crowded.
When performing ablution, the MBTI 2016 report has shown that 48 percent of Muslim travelers will use the restrooms on the plane and 38 percent perform ablution before getting on board the flight. Finally, 10 percent of Muslim travelers perform dry ablution (tayammum) onboard. One of the main issues when performing ablution on flights is the difficulty to access the sinks in plane’s restrooms. Some Muslim travelers even prefer using khuff-leather socks and appropriately following the method where the socks are wiped over – since this might be considered more comfortable and convenient while traveling, however,prayers can be performed without no issues..
In conclusion, the MBTI 2016 report shows that a large percentage of the demographic tries adapt to the surrounding or make small compromises while travelling onboard a flight. The factors for these adaptations are usually unavoidable especially when it comes to flight safety and personal security. In addition to these factors, most planes are not built or created with special prayer facilities or areas in mind. However, most Muslim business travelers will definitely choose to perform prayers in the required manner when they are able to do so.