Air India Putting Inflight Crews On A Diet

Filed Under: Air India

It seems that Air India is putting all of their pilots and cabin crew on a diet. The airline is introducing new low fat diet meals for all crew effective immediately. Here’s the note sent from Air India’s senior director of inflight service to employees:


Taking into consideration the health factor of crew, an initiative has been taken by Director Operations to revise the In-flight food menu for the crew.

In view of the above, special low fat diet meal for crew has been worked out on day wise basis in order to provide light and healthy meal with a home (Indian) touch.

As per GM Catering, initially the changed menu will be introduced only on Ex-Delhi/Mumbai flights w.e.f. 15.09.2019 midnight on all Domestic and International flights.

The same is applicable for all flying crew i.e. Cockpit and Cabin Crew.

In theory I think it’s great for airlines to introduce healthier meal options for crews. Airline food is notoriously unhealthy (both due to the low budgets that airlines have, and also because our taste buds are much duller at altitude), and when crews eat it day-in and day-out, it can obviously have long term health effects.

Breakfast in Air India business class

However, the way they’re doing this suggests to me their intentions may not be quite as good:

  • This isn’t a new option, but rather it seems like all crew members will be forced to eat these new “special low fat diet” meals
  • Air India has in the past sacked flight attendants for being overweight; this is a battle they’ve been waging for many years, and a majority of the time they’ve lost in corut

So yeah, in general I think it’s smart for airlines to give employees the option of eating healthier while working. However, with how this is being framed, I can’t imagine it will be very well received by employees… at least that’s my two cents.

  1. Although I have never flown Air India, this move/decision deserves to be praised.

    In case of emergency, a fit cabin crew would be faster to assist passengers than an obese one. Also the discerning international bachelor traveller would certainly prefer to be served by fit and attractive cabin crew than the opposite

  2. I agree. This would be a good thing, but AI most likely does not mean it in that way. And even if they do, their crews will definetly not!

  3. So they’re stacking the meals with low fat (presumably carb-dominated) meals and expecting the crew to get slimmer, eh? Can I bet against it working as-planned?

  4. Howard Fad, managing your hunger is what works, and trying to back into that via a forced calorie deficit is a losing battle. Reference: The last 50 years of food guidelines vs obesity rates.

  5. What do you mean by “their intentions may not be so good”?

    Despite modern day narratives about body positivity and related garbage, there is nothing good about being overweight. Any effort to slim down overweight employees, especially those working on planes, is good.

    I have flown many flights in North America where the FA’s were so grossly overweight they in my opinion posed a safety threat. They blocked aisles and could barely move. But the prevalent western culture forbids any action being taken.

    Good for the Indians.

  6. I love Indians. Some of my favorite people, precisely because they speak clearly and directly. Why dance around it? “We’re feeding you healthy food so you can have a healthy BMI”. Can you imagine saying this to Americans? Can you imagine the backlash? There’s about fifty things baked into that sentiment that would send an American into a tizzy. What unites Americans is that they believe absolutely nobody can look, talk about, think about, mention or notice them on anything but the most flattering light. Indians are industrious and brilliant and entrepreneurial and fearless like Americans but without the ridiculous sensitivity. And in an American.

  7. The male flight attendant on my recent UA flight to ORD was overly obese. I get it, we shall not body shame others, but does their overweight not pose a security risk?

    But yeah, unions will continue to protect their members from any attempts that dare to address their eating habits or hostile attitudes towards passengers.

  8. What’s that other airline in India, which hires only women crew members because they’re lighter, and don’t even have ovens on their planes? AI are billions of dollars in debt, how are they still flying?

  9. The plated food presented in the photo here, to be quite frank, looks like dog vomit. Is the intention to make the food look so unappetizing crew will not want it? Also if they are serious they need to cut down on the white rice; pure carbs headed straight for the hips.

  10. Frankly, the cabin crew on US airlines need this more. It’s not exactly confidence building knowing that a wheezing obese individual is in charge of my safety.

  11. Having worked as a purser on flights from Mumbai to Amsterdam for many years I can safely say that Indian cuisine is generally very healthy. About 50-50 vegetarian and meat lovers. The food tastes and smells MUCH better than the picture. In the foil packet is warmed roti, an Indian flat bread that compliments the meal. The salad is served with a light lemon vinaigrette. Really very good. Now what you did NOT want to hear fifteen minutes after takeoff from the main cabin galley out of Amsterdam or Mumbai is that the caterers screwed up and boarded all veggie or all meat entrees. That can get ugly quickly. And as for the snarky comments about obesity, let’s just say that crew members look just like our passengers.

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