Air India has instructed its pilots not to order “special meals” for themselves during flights as they are required to adhere to a “meal schedule laid down by the company”, according to an internal communication of the national carrier.
“It has been brought to the notice of the undersigned that flight crew are ordering special meal/s which are against the said rules,” Amitabh Singh, director (operations), Air India, wrote in an e-mail to pilots on Wednesday. “The only crew, who for medical reasons, may order for special meals viz. food recommended by the doctor,” he added.
According to a senior airline official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the pilots have been found to be ordering special meals such as burgers, soups, smoked salmon, guacamole and hummus with pita bread.
“Pilots send their order for these ‘special meals’ before the flight and therefore, these expensive ‘special meals’ have to be prepared and uplifted by the airline on top of the ‘meals scheduled’ by the company. This increases our expense and disturbs the food management process,” the official said.
In the email, Singh wrote that the crew should adhere to the meal schedules laid down by the company and should not authorise meal uplift on their own.
“In light of the above, all cockpit crew are instructed not to order special meals RPT not to order special meals as and when operating a flight/SOD (Staff on Duty) movement,” he wrote.
“Crew meal menu is prepared with combined effort of representatives of operation and catering. Few cases came to light that special food is being demanded by pilots. So, we have decided to stop special meals,” an Air India spokesperson said.