Air India Makes Everyone a Vegetarian on Domestic Routes
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
In an effort to “reduce wastage, reduce cost and improve catering service,” Air India has cut meat meal options from its domestic flights — at least in economy. But, the airline is maintaining hot meal service (with vegetarian dishes only) in economy on its domestic flights — good news for Air India passengers.
This is foreign to us US flyers, but in other parts of the world, airlines still serve complimentary meals in economy on domestic flights. That perk disappeared here in the US a while back, but has started to make a comeback, with American Airlines, Delta and United (in Economy Plus only) now serving free food on select (mostly transcontinental) routes.
Meanwhile, even on flights under an hour long, Air India provides “vegetarian refreshments” in economy. Full hot meals are served on flights starting at just 90 minutes long:
Until now, economy flyers had a choice of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. After this change, economy class passengers will get just one choice: vegetarian. If you want to continue to eat meat on-board, you’re going to have to upgrade to business class, where the “non-veg” option will continue to exist. Unless, of course, you have the unlucky experience of being served a a stray lizard in your meal.
According to NDTV, an airline official got pretty defensive when asked about the move:
For very short flights like a 45-minute flight, there is hardly any time to serve, so we offer snack boxes. But even for an hour long flight, if you take away the time soon after take-off or before landing, cabin crew gets only about 30 minutes. Where’s the time to ask passengers for their choice?
It seems that most travelers have been picking vegetarian options anyways, leading to lots of waste of the meat-based options. The same anonymous airline official disclosed to NDTV that having to stock flights with both options was costing the airline an additional 80,000,000 rupees (US$124,081) per year. Clearly, this change won’t result in a huge amount of savings, but every bit helps, especially when the airline is struggling to stay financially solvent.
Maybe it’s just our American perspective, but I’d still be happy with any sort of meal on a domestic flight. If Air India’s catering is anything like the London-based catering I had on a recent London Heathrow (LHR) to Newark (EWR) Air India flight, the vegetarian option was delicious. If you’re dissatisfied with your lack of choices, just make sure not to delay your flight. Paying for business class outright would even be cheaper than that $7,000 fine.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees