Airlines Encourage Passengers to Skip In-flight Meals, Calling It an ‘Ethical Choice’

Japan Airlines is the first airline to actively encourage passengers to refuse to eat on board (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The airline has advised its customers to forgo an in-flight meal, saying it is an “ethical choice”.

Japan Airlines (JAL) has been testing the “JAL Ethical Choice MealSkip Option” since 2020, which allows passengers to forgo meals on certain flights.

The airline is now making it a permanent feature of flight bookings around the world, highlighting the sustainability benefits of avoiding in-flight lunch.

In e-mails to passengers, Japan Airlines wrote: “We would like to introduce you to the new “JAL Ethical Choice MealSkip Option” service, where you can cancel your meals during your booking to enjoy your sleep throughout the flight.”

Available in all cabins, option must be registered at least 25 hours before departure.

On his website, he advises: “Before you go visit [the] JAL and select “No Meal”.

“Use this service if you want a good rest on the plane or if you want to help us reduce food waste.”

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), passenger flights generate around six million tonnes of waste annually, 20 percent of which is caused by uneaten food and beverages.

For each person who chooses the “skip a meal” option, JAL says it will also donate “a certain amount” to the TFT Secretariat, which it says “will be used for school meal programs for children in developing countries.”

London-based customer Wayne Kwong posted a screenshot of an email the airline sent out marking the initiative, saying: “Interesting idea for charity, but I don’t see planefood lovers going for it.”

Meanwhile, one Twitter user from Canada replied: “It would also be ethical to lower the price if you decide to go for it, wouldn’t it?”

The concept was first tested on the airline’s nearly six-hour overnight flight between Bangkok and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, when it emerged that many customers would rather take a nap than be interrupted by a free meal.

In a statement released in December, JAL said: “To pass on a prosperous planet to the next generation, the JAL Group is committed to making every flight sustainable and to making air travel a value to be proud of as we aim to achieve zero CO2 emissions by 2050 year.

“As part of this, we will further expand our various in-flight meal initiatives to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The service, which helps reduce food waste while providing passengers with a comfortable rest in the cabin, has been well received by customers, especially those who fly late at night, who say they are happy to be able to rest at night. “.

In recent years, various airlines have tried to combat cabin waste: in November, Delta Air Lines added a “skip” option to its business class meal request form to “help reduce food waste.”

In the meantime, Air New Zealand has tested plastic-free equipment, including edible coffee cups, with Finnair last year announcing that from spring 2018 to August 2022.

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