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27 Jan 2023, Edition - 2754, Friday

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Shakahari for economy flyers of Air India

Indrani Thakurata


You may love your tangri kebab and lamb curry, but if you are flying Air India, you have to relish paneer kofta and dal makhani instead. India’s third largest domestic Airline Air India has announced that it will no longer serve non-vegetarian foods for its economy class on its domestic flights. This may come as a huge disappointment because your food preference is personal and is part of the larger flying experience, but Air India leaves you with no choice, (only veg please). “I am a frequent flyer. And funnily, I have always defended Air India for its food. They serve the tastiest food, as far as I am concerned. And I used to look forward to their non veg meal, because food is an attraction and distraction when you are flying. Alas, Air India snatches away even that,” says Reshma Singh. Many see this as an extension of the political stance that the centre espouses. Journalist Pritish Nandy doesn’t mince his words, and says it, like it is.

I suspect veg meals on Air India is not a commercial decision. It smells political. Good news is less animals killed. Saves the world.

— Pritish Nandy (@PritishNandy) July 11, 2017

Like Pritish, many have called it a sanskari move by the sarkari aircraft. There is no denying that the move is in sync with the larger political narrative that the country is witnessing. “How can you force people to have something that they don’t want to. They could have charged extra for it, but why stop it completely?,” says Shrabani Sain, ex employee of Air India. “The move to serve non veg in Business Class reeks of elitism. This isn’t a good move,” she adds. According to Air India, this is a well thought out cost cutting move—for it is facing a debt of around Rs 550 billion. “This is the worst form of class discrimination–so in your face. You pay less, you will have only one option and if you are flying business class, you get to eat your food of choice. If at all, make it homogenous for all,” says Ratul Roy, who will be flying next month by Air India.

Omar Abdullah reacts:

Pray tell why? I’m trying hard to understand the logic of this decision but I’m really struggling.

Here is another gem:

Will the decision to avoid non veg meal help Air India??people are fine with bad service & flight delays only if they get pure veg meal ??

— kouser (@kouser2012) July 10, 2017

And an opposing gem:

#Air India. It’s a good idea to eat only veg food in flight…No argument..why people have objection? pic.twitter.com/LC3mmO30PD

— Dr.Sangeeta.MD,PhD (@SangeetaGawali) July 11, 2017

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