Fiji Airways is cutting onboard dining in business class on select flights. This move comes after extensive research that attempts to improve the passenger experience. In addition, the move will help Fiji Airways reduce their waste from uneaten meals.
Fiji Airways onboard dining
Fiji Airways operates a number of late-night and early morning flights. For passengers, this can mean a grueling choice between consuming food and maximizing sleep. Having flown Fiji Airways from their hub in Nadi to Los Angeles, the late-night departure made for an interesting experience. Onboard, Fiji Airways serves a smaller a-la-carte late-night dining experience.
However, plenty of passengers would prefer to maximize sleep. Indeed, many passengers went straight to bed soon after takeoff. However, Fiji Airways must cater for a full cabin. Unfortunately, this can lead to excess waste as uneaten meals are no longer usable.
The new experience
Fiji Airways now intends to shift dining from onboard to on the ground. According to Traveller, Fiji Airways will be offering a pre-flight gourmet meal in their lounge.
In the lounge, passengers will be able to have a full dining experience in the lounge in lieu of onboard meals. Currently, the lounge offers a buffet-style dining experience with a fully stocked bar.
This sounds like a positive move since passengers can maximize sleep onboard. Furthermore, the on-the-ground dining experience can allow for additional customization since crews are limited with what is available onboard. And, for families and larger groups, this facilitates opportunities to dine together and bond over a conversation.
Which flights will be affected?
Fiji Airways will offer the on-the-ground dining experience for early morning or evening flights out of Nadi to Sydney and Brisbane. Meanwhile, departures from Melbourne and Brisbane will offer this service at those respective airports.
It seems that flights from the United States, which also depart late, will offer the full dining experience onboard. This is because, in the outstations, Fiji Airways uses contract and partner lounges who may not be able to offer the full on-the-ground dining experience that Fiji Airways can in Nadi.
For example, Fiji Airways business class passengers have access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in San Francisco. However, the portion sizes are quite small and not representative of an onboard meal.
What will Fiji Airways save?
According to Fiji Airways, up to 38% of onboard food ended up in the trash. This is because some passengers, including 31% of Australian passengers, chose sleep over inflight food.
In addition, this move will help Fiji Airways save on fuel since it means less weight onboard the aircraft.
What if I want to eat on board?
Fiji Airways isn’t removing food entirely from onboard flights. Instead, lighter options including fruit bowls, paninis, salads, tapas, and soups will still be offered.
Fiji Airways sees a way to help passengers, minimize waste, and reduce some of their costs. Ultimately, not every passenger will indulge in the on-the-ground dining experience. However, for those who do, this can represent a better option than eating in the sky. But, for all business class passengers, this change can represent a way for Fiji Airways to maximize leisure time onboard.
If Fiji Airways extends this to flights departing to the United States, this could work well since departures out of Nadi are usually quite late at night. Having flown Fiji Airways to Los Angeles, this change is something I would be keen to try.
What do you make of this latest change? Let us know in the comments!