Emirates reverses decision, to continue with 'Hindu meals'

NEW DELHI: Emirates on Wednesday reversed its decision of discontinuing “Hindu meals + ” from its flights after receiving flak from social media users in India.

The Dubai-based carrier had earlier this week said it will drop “Hindu meals” from food options while continuing to offer both veg and non-veg meals in conformity with religious beliefs of Indians. But social media users expressed strong opposition to this move, forcing Emirates — the largest foreign airline in India in terms of flying people in and out of the country — to cancel its decision.

“Based on feedback from our customers, Emirates confirms we will continue to provide a Hindu meal option, to make it easier for our Hindu customers to identify and request this option,” the airline said in a statement late Wednesday evening.

“Emirates has always provided a wide variety of special meals that can be ordered at least 24 hours in advance to cater to our customers with medical or religious dietary requirements, including our Hindu customers… We constantly review our offering, taking into consideration customer uptake and feedback. Food and drink form an integral part of any Emirates flight experience and our menus are created by leading chefs to reflect the culture and preferences of Emirates’ diverse customer base,” the statement added.

Most big airlines give meal options based on several factors like religious, medical and dietary considerations for the sake of clarity. Air India and Singapore Airlines, for instance, have special meals titled ‘religious’ in their menu. These include: Hindu Non-Vegetarian Meal (HNML) which does not contain beef, veal, pork, smoked and raw fish; Muslim/Moslem Meal (MOML) that contains no alcohol, pork and is prepared in accordance with halal method; and Kosher Meal (KSML) that is prepared according to Jewish specifications and contains meat.

The vegetarian meal of international airlines has several options like Indian veg (no meat, seafood and eggs); Jain meal (no onions, garlic, ginger, mushrooms and root vegetables); Oriental and vegan (no dairy product).

“Not everyone is a seasoned traveller knowing the subtle differences between meal options given by airlines. Hindu non-veg meant no beef and was safely chosen by Indian travellers. There may be confusion by people booking tickets in initial days,” said a Delhi-based travel agent.

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