Day 0: Enhanced meal services on select Air India flights as Tata Group takes over

Today, January 27, 2022, is when the transaction between the Government of India and the Tata conglomerate, the original owner of Air India, before its nationalisation is to be completed. The Tata Group had won the bid towards the airline’s privatisation in October 2021 and signed a share purchase agreement the same month.

a man in a suit and a woman in a sari standing on a plane

JRD Tata at Air India (Image Courtesy the Tata Archives)

Enhanced Meal Services to be one of the first actions of the private Air India

As per various people at the airline, and something reported in the media already, the two measures which will be rolled out almost immediately are soft touches onboard the airline with the crew expected to play a pivotal role in enhancing the airline’s representation, and also, the meal services will be improved.

The newswire, PTI, reported that four flights will see an enhanced meal service on January 27, 2022, without elaborating on the details. The four flights are:

  • AI864 (Mumbai-Delhi)
  • AI687 (Mumbai-Delhi)
  • AI945 (Mumbai-Abu Dhabi)
  • AI639 (Mumbai-Bengaluru)

The Times of India Group further added more flights to this list, including the Mumbai – Newark and the Mumbai – London Heathrow flights later in the week.

As per The Times of India, Air India staff have already received feelers on the transition to a private-sector entity this week, and they are expected to behave accordingly. Small nuances will be introduced, such as the transition to referring to the passengers as guests and a specially recorded message on board from Ratan Tata, the chairman emeritus of the Tata Group.

Another front-end move, which has run into some hot water already, has been the focus on the grooming of the cabin crew, which is intended to be evaluated pre-flight. The Air India Cabin Crew unions have objected to this move. The Tata group have put Megha Singhania, current head of in-flight services at AirAsia India, and Sandeep Verma, the ex-head of Vistara’s in-flight services, in charge of revamping in-flight services at the airline.

Amongst the other areas where the initial focus will be for the Tata Group will be to focus on the airline’s On-Time Performance, with doors close to be done 10 minutes before the flight departure.


The Tata Group will take over the Air India operations on January 27, 2022, and enhancements to the meal service onboard and the airline’s on-time performance are some of the first moves that are expected to be addressed.

Have you flown Air India (not Alliance Air!) on January 27, 2022, and onwards. Please do report back if you notice any changes at the airline.

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. @Ajay, Any idea as to why the chose the Abu Dhabi route? (The rest of the routes seem like high density routes)
    I’m super glad they chose AUH, I just wish they’d stop using the low cost terminal at AUH and would switch back to T1.

  2. Every Aircraft interior need to be change as soon as possible.
    Increase office staff. It is crazy rush at all metro cities of AI office.
    New Frequent flyer program should not lapes mile even one do not travel every year.
    Customer service call waiting is very long. Please improv on it.

  3. I still hope their get upfront upgrades scheme stays live till next week atleast, have a wish to experience their business class

  4. Thanks for the update, Ajay. Exciting times ahead for AI.

    Quick fyi: couple of typos in para 1 which you may consider addressing.

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