Paxex Upgrade: Indian airlines allowed to resume meal services on all sectors

The collateral damage to the Indian aviation ecosystem has not just been with airlines and airports, which saw demand collapse for a while, but also with some of the rules in place, saw the other vendors of services such as inflight meals suffer due to regulations such as no meal service provision on flights under 2 hours. As Covid-19 ebbed, the aviation rules were still guided disconnected with the actual situation on the ground. However, that has changed.

Airlines can resume meal services and magazines

In the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, meal services were restricted for flights below two hours with the rationale that meals were needed on longer flights, but they were not needed on short flights. The Government of India has now allowed the resumption of full meal service on flights of any duration.

This means airlines such as Vistara can go back to serving meals on all sorts of flights to resume their full-service differentiation, and airlines such as IndiGo can now return to inflight meal sales. For no-frill carriers, meal service is an essential auxiliary revenue source that was unavailable to them for a long time. For full-service airlines such as Vistara, it has been hard to differentiate for the past few months, with scores of angry customers, and they only recently returned to a full meal service on flights above two hours.

In addition, airlines can also resume placing inflight magazines on their aircraft, which could be a good thing for the advertising revenue they generate.

Cabin crew no longer need to be dressed up in PPE gowns

One of the other archaic regulations, not following the science, was the flimsy gowns that all cabin crew had to wear onboard the flight. Unfortunately, this was also a requirement for middle-seat customers but was recently removed for them. Now, these PPE gown requirements have been repealed even for cabin crew.

Here is the official order from the Government of India

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With this move, only two key restrictions remain for carriers operating in/to India. First, domestic carriers have to sell within prescribed fare bands for T-15 ticket sales. Second, air operations into India can only be done with transport bubbles because regular services have not been resumed at the moment. This has led to reduced capacity and also increased fares.


Many of the parts of travel would hopefully return to airlines very quickly as meal services and in-flight magazines are allowed to return to the planes. The PPE gowns for flight attendants go away as well, and only masks will remain, which I presume will be there for a while.

What do you think of the new permissions given to airlines? Too late or too early?

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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. This might be an airline specific policy, but Indigo still required the PPE “bathrobe” kit for middle seat passengers on a flight to DXB 2 weeks back.

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