Thursday, 17 January 2013

Stomachs Flying on Empty

Looks like it's the end of the road for hot meals on short flights around the Asia region as carriers Cathay Pacific and Dragonair try to find more ways to cut costs.

What used to be the last bastion for hot meals are now being replaced with -- drum roll please -- sandwiches.

Since January 1, Dragonair has served sandwiches for flights to Taiwan and Manila, and Cathy is already handing out sandwiches on its Taiwan flights.

A Cathay spokesperson said the sandwiches would be heated and served with juice and biscuits.

Passengers aren't expected to like the cost-cutting measures as Asians prefer eating hot meals.

So instead the airlines are trying to spin the cost-saving exercise as a benefit...

"We believe the change will enable passengers to enjoy a smooth and more relaxed journey on such a short flight as the time for serving and retrieving the meal trays will be shortened," a Dragonair spokesperson said.

Not only do sandwiches help the carriers cut costs, but also increase the chances of boosting income because the time saved from serving passengers can now be used to sell more duty-free items on board.

The Cathay spokesperson added the shortened meal time would give passengers more time to rest, particularly on red-eye flights.

In the end Cathay and Dragonair are becoming more in line with other carriers around the world that have cut meals on short-haul flights.

For example in North America, airlines don't even offer anything to eat if the flight is less than five hours, and passengers can either bring food on board or buy snacks on the plane.

It's the new reality, folks. But is this what we paid for?

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