International carriers woo passengers with special meals


MUMBAI, India – The British Airways flight to London used to be the least preferred by Jain passengers because of the absence of Jain food on board. But a few months ago, the airline reached out to this potent market of flyers by adding Jain cuisine to its long list of special meals. This is not the first time that an airlines has tried to woo passengers’ palate. Along with comfort seating and attractive fares, airlines are also dishing out new recipes for flyers, particularly on long-haul flights.

Roping in star chefs to design the menu and supervize food preparation, having food managers on board to customize passengers’ meals, revising the menu frequently, using designer cutlery and serving regional meals are only few of the attractions. A menu with 19 varieties of special meals is a minimum one would be choosing from. Kanjivaram idli, purdah biryani, Kashmiri rajma and garlic and saffron naan, dilli chat and dahi wadas have found their way into the menu.

A recent add-on to the menu of Virgin Atlantic is hot chocolate after repeated requests by women flyers. Singapore Airlines introduced a cook-book with top international chefs dishing out exotic recipes. Austrian Airlines has a chef on board most of its long-haul flights, Etihad has a food and beverage manager to help passengers choose the right meal and drinks for their journey. Most international carriers offer 20 or more special meals, ranging from protein-rich to low-calorie meals, religious meals like Hindu vegetarian meals, kosher meals and Jain food.