India’s public carrier Air India came out with some bad news for non vegetarian passengers wishing to fly with Air India in the new year.
The loss-making airlines announced on Saturday that it will not serve non-vegetarian food to its economy class passengers on flights up to 90 minutes duration.
That’s not enough. As part of austerity measures, the airlines has also decided to do away with tea and coffee as part of its lunch and dinner menu.
Up until now the national carrier served sandwich (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian) and cake on its flights, up to 90 minutes of duration. It’s now going to be discontinued from 1 January.
An airline circular said, “It has been decided to provide all Indian vegetarian hot meals in economy class on all domestic sector flights between 61 and 90 minutes duration from January 1, 2016.”
Flights to most of the non-metro routes fall in this category.
While Air India has defended the move saying it has upgraded the meals, a travel industry expert said the decision is unilateral.
“We have, in fact, upgraded and improved the meals. So far, we were serving only sandwiches and cakes, which have now be replaced with hot meals,” a senior airline official was quoted by PTI.
He said, with 150-odd passengers onboard and just two crew cabin members to serve, “at times it becomes difficult to cater as per the passenger’s choice in such short-duration flights.”
Reacting to this development, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, said tweeted;
— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) December 26, 2015
According to travel industry expert Rajji Rai too, the state-owned airline should have first carried out a passenger survey, which is an industry practice, before affecting any change in the menu.
“Airlines world over carry out customer surveys before taking such decisions. Unfortunately, Air India is very poor in such practices. This decision to discontinue non-vegetarian food on these non-metro flights is just one-sided,” he said.
Air India had flown 1.18-million passengers with a market share of 16.2 per cent in the previous month.