Jet Airways goes half way to no-frills; will drop meal service on most Domestic Economy Fares next year

Jet Airways has made progressive cutbacks over the months due to their financial situation, such as:

Now, Jet Airways had already started deleting items from meals, and on their critical Delhi-Mumbai segment, they were serving a meal box in Economy flights too. But now, they have determined that passengers do not need to eat on these flights. At least not if you are a loyal member or on a costly ticket.

As per a new move from Jet Airways, complimentary in-flight meals will now be restricted to those opting for the highest fare family, ‘Flex’ in Economy and for all fare categories in Première. Passengers on other Economy seats can buy food and beverages from JetBistro, the onboard menu. This move towards closing out complimentary meals will come in effect from January 7, 2019, for tickets purchased after December 21, 2018.

You can read the entire statement from Jet Airways here, and what I entirely do not appreciate about this statement, is that this is being positioned as a “for the benefit of the customer move”, while this is essentially taking away one more thing from them.  And what beats me is what the food they will serve these passengers is? A hot meal used to be a done deal on the Mumbai – Delhi flights, but I’ve heard frequent instances of snack boxes on those flights too.

In the earlier scenario, almost everyone would get a meal so even last minute bookings would be catered to. But now, if Jet Airways is going to slash the meal trays in the flight massively, how does a JP Platinum, who books up last minute, ensure he gets a meal. For instance, I do this often out of Bangalore, where there is total unpredictability on my arrival at the airport and the traffic in between.

Here is the new reference chart for Fare Choices,

What I pity in this scenario, is the non-cash nature of all saleable meals. Jet Airways is not just the prime choice of white collar people, but others as well. People from smaller cities may or may not have Debit Cards, so that should mean they will go hungry on these flights.

It is a done deal in the USA to not serve meals on domestic flights. Everyone brings their own. But even there, they are moving back to serving something to everyone. And yes, everyone gets a drink service (soft beverages) even if they don’t get a meal. And American Airlines, for instance, gives a complimentary snack to their AAdvantage Executive Platinum guests.

With this, the hybridization, if there is a word like that, of Jet Airways is done. Back of the plane, you have a no-frills carrier with an IFE system installed, and front of the aircraft you have a full-service airline. What joins them together, is the loyalty program which still exists.

What do you think of this new move from Jet Airways? I know you don’t love it. So, let me ask if you hate it, or are indifferent to it?

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. While Indigo crews can barely manage a cash based sale I dread to think how Jet’s crews will handle this. Personally I am okay with them charging for meals provided that they serve up something half decent. Off late their food quality has been so dire that the idea of better quality meals at a premium sounds like a respite.

  2. They are again repeating the konnect mistake and trying to dissolve the brand identity . Airline managers need to come out of the office desk and see the customer expectations for a FSC. Who need to adjust and forgo the benefits for an indian carrier .Long live MEA carriers.

  3. JP Plat here. I am pretty sure the FA’s harried as they are, will not be able to manage this. Flew economy classic BOM-HYD on 26th Nov and wasn’t offered a meal box (not that I wanted one 🙂 ). Sitting on almost 1 mn miles. I think it is time to burn them in one big blaze of glory – depending on partner award availability, of course.

  4. I appreciate the no cash move. Reduces the friction in selling meals. With more than 800 million debit cards in the country, I think worries of people going hungry is exaggerated.

  5. I notice another couple of changes –

    1. Voucher/Miles upgrade – taken away from light & deal booking classes. I remember upgrading on light previously.

    2. Redemption bookings – only JP Plat & Gold get meals on redemption bookings (are they expecting a lot of JP mile burns)?

  6. Hi Ajay,

    Is it time to burn JPMiles while it is still possible? I am sitting on a 6 figure balance. What do you suggest?

  7. Another nail in the coffin. Adios 9W, Hello UK. It was great while it lasted, will miss compulsively accruing & spending JP Miles.

    • This feels like another hasty decision aimed at the Goyal’s staying in control. I really wish the Tata’s gain control and fix this mess. If not it might be time to burn the JP miles.

  8. Dear Mr.Ajay,

    I would like to appreciate your efforts and contributions on your Brainchild..!!

    Thanks so much for the Info’s that you are sharing here.

    I have one basic question regarding JET AIRWAYS Current Situation..!!

    Definitely this much loss in the carrier would have been accumulated for Some of the Years till date. They Say its about 8500 Crores Dept + the current financial year loss (so far about 1300 Crores).

    Why didn’t they Started the corrective measures immediately( at least when they realise the consecutive years loss) instead of doing it now while its sinking? Or is it all about promoters play to secure their money and wash off the hands?

    Would appreciate your view..!!


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