I’ll never forget one of my first times in first class when I received white tablecloth service paired with a lobster salad, copious amounts of wine, a creamy risotto, and a chocolate soufflé. As I gobbled it all up and washed it all down, I noticed the man next to me hadn’t touched a thing on his many plates. Eventually, he put his eye mask on, reclined his seat, and allowed the food to be whisked away without a care. What a waste, I thought. But if my seatmate had been on Japan Airlines, he might not have had to shun his meal in the first place.
Japan Airlines wants you to skip its meal service
In an effort to avoid food waste, Japan Airlines is encouraging passengers to skip its meal service. Since 2020, JAL has been offering the JAL Ethical Choice Meal Skip Option to passengers on certain routes. The company recently announced the option will now be offered on all flight bookings worldwide.
Food waste is a huge problem, even on airplanes
While frequent flyers of Spirit Airlines have to hand over an arm and leg in exchange for a cracker, airlines that offer expansive food amenities have some thinking to do.
Research by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) found that 1.14 million tons of food was wasted from inflight catering in 2017 alone. The study also concluded that 20 percent of all waste from passenger flights came from unconsumed food and drink.
JAL’s commitment to sustainability, charity
Passengers have up to 25 hours before a flight to opt out of their in-flight meal on JAL’s website. For every meal skipped, the airline says it will donate to a charity focused on delivering food to schools in developing countries.
A recent trial prior to the new worldwide policy announcement found that, on a six-hour flight between Bangkok and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, many flyers opted out of the meal so they could sleep. The feedback could foreshadow success to come.