Air India's recent move to stop serving non vegetarian meals on its domestic economy class flights has been garnering criticism, for being biased towards vegetarians.
Many have questioned the airline's cost-cutting measure, asking why Air India did not stop offering non vegetarian food to its business and executive class flyers.
Sudhakar Reddy, National President of Air Passengers Association of India, called the move a discriminatory one.
"There are trying to discriminate between the economy class and business class (passengers). Either they should have served only vegetarian food across all categories, or serve both vegetarian and non vegetarian food to all," he said.
Air India, which is struggling with increasing debts and losses alike, said that its move was aimed at reducing wastage and reducing costs. The airline is expected to save around Rs 7-8 crore annually with this move.
Critics have pointed out that this amount will have hardly any impact on Air India's debts which amount to around Rs 60,000 crore.
"I don't think Air India is looking at the bigger picture. They are looking at the issue from a micro and not macro perspective. They should look at what they are missing. By just serving vegetarian food, they'll be able to save around Rs 7 crore. That too only from their domestic services. For their international flights, they still are a full service airline and have to comply with international norms," Reddy said.
A CBI investigation found blatant irregularities in the working of the airline which, it said, hastened its downfall.
All is not lost however, feels Reddy.
He said, "When it comes to domestic population, Air India has lost its market share from 40% to 14-15%. Have they analysed the reason behind this? They don't have a shortage of aircraft, pilots or manpower. Probably Air India has some of the best pilots that any airline can boast of. Same goes for maintenance staff. This is because of the experience they have, the years of service they have put in. When you have such capable resources, where are they falling short?"
Air India has a poor reputation when it comes to flight delays. Between July 2014 and June 2015, over 63,000 passengers had been affected by flight cancellations made by Air India, thus putting it on the top of the list in flight cancellations.
"Why does a person opt for a flight? To reach his/her destination on time," Reddy said. "They have to improve their on-time performance, in-flight service and in-flight cleanliness and this will attract customers and in turn revenue."