From New Year’s Day, Air India will not serve non-vegetarian food on flights which have flying time of 61-90 minutes.
A circular, which was signed by general manager of Air India, Captain D X Pais, said:
“It has been decided to provide only Indian vegetarian hot meals in economy class on domestic sector flights with duration between 61 and 90 minutes, from January 1, 2016.”
It further stated that tea and coffee would not be served on flights that fly during lunch and dinner time.
The circular has been sent to all cabin crew and in-flight service personnel and was marked as ‘Must Read’. It was issued from the office of the executive director, customer services.
Explaining the reason behind this decision, a official said:
“In the 30-40 minutes available for service, it is not possible for us to juggle passenger choices’ of meals. As a non-vegetarian can have a vegetarian meal but not the other way round, the decision was logical.”
There are five categories of Air India domestic flights – breakfast from 5.30 am to 9.30 am, hi-tea from 9.30 am to 11.30 am and 3 pm to 6.30 pm, lunch from 12 noon to 2.30 pm, dinner from 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm and supper from 11 pm onwards.
The move has miffed many passengers and created an uproar on Twitter.
#SanskariJamesBond flies Air India economy and only chooses Veg Meal
— Gaurav Merchant (@gmerchan80) November 18, 2015
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So now only veg food options in our national carrier #airindia for shorter domestic tours! am fine as long as what they serve is hygiene
— Ms Crazy Rover! (@mallika_dutt1) December 26, 2015
AirIndia won’t serve non-veg food,tea/coffee on short flights to “save time”.Chicken sandwich takes longer to be served than paneer?@ibnlive
— palki sharma (@palkisu) December 26, 2015
People are questioning AirIndia’s move to serve veg in domestic flights for economic reasons. This is why govt should not be in business.
— AristocRatty (@YearOfRat) December 26, 2015
However, Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani clarified that the national carrier currently provides only cold vegetable snacks on 60-90 minute flights, but from 2016 the airline will serve proper hot meals.
Defending the national carrier’s move, Minister of state for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma said:
“It has been misinterpreted. The real truth is that in short halt flights where the time span is between 60-90 minutes, we used to serve sandwiches and snacks which used to be vegetarian. Only thing was that there was a long demand that there should be some hot food as well.”
While Air India found it economical to ‘change’ the menu, how it tides over other issues such as flight cancellations and delays are yet to be seen.