Friday, July 14, 2017

All for some chicken feed

Air India’s decision to offer only vegetarian meals to economy class passengers on domestic flights is nothing but bizarre. When the world over and even closer home airlines such as Vistara are using food as their USP to attract more passengers, Air India seems to have thought of something that the entire industry does not even think worthy of considering.

Worse are the reasons it’s giving – annual savings of ?7-8 crore, reduction of wastage, and difficulty in separating vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. Given that food served on an aircraft accounts only for a minuscule portion of an airline’s operations cost, Air India’s argument about savings does not cut much ice. Surely there are better ways of doing this instead of pushing customers away? On the issue of food waste, Air India should know that there are various organisations such as ChefAir that collect leftovers, segregate it and then distribute it to various charitable organisations such as the Missionaries of Charity. The reasoning that it is difficult to separate vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals is so absurd that it does not even merit a counter-argument except to reiterate what one flyer tweeted: if we can’t trust the airline to separate its meals can we trust it to fly us from one place to another?
14/07/17 Ashwini Phadnis/Business Line