Air India denies 'only vegetarian' meals menu
After the raging uproar on Twitter, Air India denied the reports that had claimed that the airline was taking off non-vegetarian food off the menu for economy class passengers on shorter flights. Junior aviation minister Mahesh Sharma said: "There is no change in the previous system, only upgradation has been done" for up to 90 minutes duration flights.
Air India, the 'loss-making government-run airline' announced in a circular that from 1 January, it would not be serving "non-vegetarian food to its economy class passengers on flights up to 90 minutes duration." Notably, this category mostly includes flights between the non-metro routes. The national carrier has also chosen to strike off "both tea and coffee from its lunch and dinner menu."
Reacting to this development, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah tweeted saying "Pray tell why? I'm trying hard to understand the logic of this decision, but I'm really struggling". Some even questioned if the decision was politically motivated with Air India not caring about "business but, only it's political masters". Several others took to twitter to express their outrage.
In November 2015, Air India reportedly flew "1.18-million passengers with a market share of 16.2 per cent".
Travel experts pointed out that globally airlines carry out surveys before implementing such decisions. However, Air India instead of consulting anyone took the decision unilaterally without a passenger survey. However, Air India said that the main reason for providing one "standard meal and not a choice was because crew wouldn't have the time to serve different menu options".
Minister Of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma was said that the Air India circular was misrepresented. He clarified that "non-veg was not in that category of snacks earlier too." He said that previously the vegetarian food was served cold while non-vegetarians would eat a hot meal. So this move was only so that people could get 'hot' vegetarian meal on board.