Travel Agent – Booking Shabbat Travel for Jews
I work in the travel industry and regularly book flights and reservations for customers. Many of them I’m sure are Jewish but not religious. If a Jew wants to book a flight on Shabbat, am I allowed to do it for him? Obviously, my job would not permit me to refuse booking a flight for a customer. Is it my business if a client of mine is not religiously observant?
The Aish Rabbi Replies
Thank you for the important issue. The basic rules are as follows. You don’t have to assume a client is Jewish if you don’t know either way (since most of your clientele no doubt is not). If you do know a person is Jewish, you should certainly suggest options which would not involve Shabbat travel. If, however, he is not interested, you do not have to lose your job over it. (This is not a case of causing another Jew to sin, since even if he has the ticket he is not forced to fly on that date. Additionally, it is not that clear what transgression flying entails – very possibly no Torah prohibition. Finally, the same customer could easily buy the ticket elsewhere, so this is not the classic case of helping someone sin who could not have done so otherwise.) Even so, if possible, the best is to have a non-Jewish coworker deal with such requests.
We have a nice article about a religious travel agent who did convince his client to avoid travel on Shabbat – and as a result, he missed doomed flight Malaysia Air 370 which tragically disappeared without survivors. You might even want to share with any wavering clients, as appropriate.
Much success in your career!