Soon after Air India announced its decision to serve vegetarian food on its short haul flights from the beginning of the New Year, it received a lot of flak on social media for striking out non-vegetarian food from its meal plan.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah questioned the decision on his official twitter handle, “Pray tell why? I'm trying hard to understand the logic of this decision but I'm really struggling”.
According to the Indian media, the decision was issued in a circular last week, which read; “It has been decided to provide all Indian vegetarian hot meals in economy class on all domestic sector flights between 61 and 90 minutes duration from January 1, 2016”.
Following the uproar, Air India chief Ashwani Lohani issued a clarification to the Indian media stating it was an upgrade. “We used to give cold vegetarian snacks in short duration flights. So we converted to hot vegetarian snacks. As the winter times is there, so people used to demand snacks. I don't think so there is any issue in this,” he said.
Air India officials added that hot meals, including non-vegetarian ones, were served only on flights over 90 minutes in duration.
Junior aviation minister Mahesh Sharma told the Indian media; “There is no change in the previous system, only upgradation has been done. Apart from snacks, some hot food has been started.
“There is no controversy of vegetarian and non-vegetarian. We have started offering hot food considering it is winter.”
The officials added that the decision not to offer a choice was because of the short flight duration.