Air India To Only Provide Crews With Low Fat Meals

Air India has effectively asked their entire cabin crew team to go on a diet, changing what meals they are allowed to eat on board in an effort to reduce waistlines.

Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Air India is looking at ways to reduce its literal waistline. Photo: Air India

What are the details?

It’s not unusual for an airline to ‘trim the fat’, removing unnecessary staff or issuing redundancies, but this is the first time an airline has taken that statement to heart literary and put their entire flying staff on a diet.

One Mile At A Time got hold of the all-staff email from the head of operations, which reads as follows:

“Subject: SPECIAL LOW-FAT DIET MEALS FOR CREW

Taking into consideration the health factor of the crew, an initiative has been taken by Director Operations to revise the In-flight food menu for the crew.

In view of the above, a special low-fat diet meal for crew has been worked out on a day-wise basis in order to provide light and healthy meal with a home (Indian) touch.

As per GM Catering, initially, the changed menu will be introduced only on Ex-Delhi/Mumbai flights w.e.f. 15.09.2019 midnight on all Domestic and International flights.

The same is applicable for all flying crew i.e. Cockpit and Cabin Crew.”

Air India
A typical Air India meal. Photo: Abhinav619 via Wikimedia

This new crew menu, for both cabin crew and pilots, was first trialed on flights departing from Mumbai and Delhi. Yesterday, it rolled out to all flights in the fleet, both international and domestic.

As pointed out, many in-flight meals are of low quality and not good to consume frequently. Some of these crew members who are doing multiple days and multiple sectors mainly sustain themselves via the provided meals. A review of the crew food to be more healthy would be a massive benefit for staff and the airline alike.

According to LiveMint.com, the meals being prepared for the crew to include:

  • Nutri Peas Bhurji
  • Dal Arhar, Pudina Raita
  • Dry Chapattis
  • Murg Dhaniya
  • Fresh Green Salad
  • Chaunk ki Subz
  • Dal Kabila
  • Boondi Raita
  • Palak Corn Tikki

Will this plan work?

There are two key points that need to be discussed when thinking about the success of this plan.

The first is that it is almost impossible to tell anyone what they can and can’t eat unless you absolutely control nearly all of their meals. Plenty of crew members who will be on this diet will lack the discipline to stick to it when they are on the ground.

It remains to be seen if this plan will work for the airline. Photo: Air India

Additionally, we have not even discussed the difference between people, from men and women, different metabolisms, diet restrictions, the way we store fat on our bodies, etc. A full-time nutritionist is required to help change one person, let alone a workforce of thousands.

The second major point has nothing to do with human nature but actually the way we process food (and, forgive me, this is an airline blog, not a food science blog so this will be very basic). Fat on our bodies is actually caused by an increase in carbs, not by the fat content in our food. By eating a ‘low-fat’ diet, you are actually eating more carbohydrate and sugar, and thus putting on weight on your waistline. If Air India is following this model, it might mean that they end up having the opposite effect and their crew members get a little rounder.

Perhaps Air India should have focused more on portion control and healthy fresh produce in their meals, rather than doubling down on carbohydrate. Or maybe focusing on getting the airline out of its insane debt.

What do you think? Do you want to try the new Air India low-fat meal? Let us know in the comments below.

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