Singapore Airlines (SIA), a leading international partner of Air India, on Thursday, said it will not proceed with using paper boxes for in-flight meals on medium and long-haul flights “for now”, following the feedback from its trial earlier this year, according to a media report. The trial was rolled out in March this year for economy class meals on a small number of medium and long-haul flights which sparked criticism about the airline’s food standards, including the presentation of meals, Channel News Asia reported. Some said the move made SIA appear “cheap” and that it was a cost-cutting measure, the report said. “Some of (our customers) have shared their feedback regarding the service ware, as have members of the public. We have taken that on board,” a spokesperson for the airline was quoted as saying.
“We have also received the operational feedback on the trial, and noted that we may need to improve the design of the box,” the spokesperson said.
The trial in March was part of SIA’s efforts to “enhance the in-flight experience on medium and long-haul flights by offering more main course options” that were frequently asked for, such as gravy-rich dishes like laksa, mee siam, and congee.
Taking all the feedback into account, the spokesperson said the airline has “decided not to proceed with this new service ware for now”. SIA uses paper food boxes for economy-class meals on short-haul flights under three-and-a-half hours.
In recent months, some netizens gave a thumbs down to the national carrier for its economy class meals, with the paper service ware trial igniting discussion around the airline’s food presentation.
SIA had previously addressed comments about cost-cutting, stating that the trial food boxes cost more than the disposable plastic casserole dishes that it uses, the report added. Amid heightened complaints, SIA reported a record annual profit of SGD 2.16 billion (USD 1.63 billion) earlier this month.
The spokesperson on Wednesday said that the airline has not reduced its budget for in-flight meals. Its current budget is about 20 per cent higher than that for the 2019-2020 financial year, even though the airline expects that its capacity will be lower than that year.
“SIA remains committed to constantly innovating with the aim of enhancing the in-flight dining experience, and to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.