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Preetam Pandey | HENB | New Delhi | July 4, 2018:: After it received flak from social media users in India, the Dubai-based carrier Emirates has said that they will continue to provide Hindu meal option in food options. In its statement issued on Wednesday, July 4 evening, Emirates said that it has decided to reverse its decision of discontinuing Hindu meals due to feedback from its customers. The Dubai-based carrier said that it will make it easier for their Hindu customers to identify and request this option. On Tuesday last, the airlines had issued a statement stating that they are taking Hindu meal off the menu.
However, Emirates had made it clear that it will continue to offer veg and non-veg meals in accordance with religious beliefs of Indians. The Emirates’ decision to discontinue Hindu meals in food options sparked a controversy and received criticism from social media users in India.
“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 today.
According to Emirates, it constantly reviews the meal offerings after 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 noted.
“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,” the statement said.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the carrier had said as part of continuous review of the products and services available to customers, it would discontinue the ‘Hindu meal’ option.
The airline had also said that its Hindu customers can order in advance from a wide variety of regionally-inspired vegetarian and special meals catering to specific dietary requirements in all classes of travel.
Emirates also offers options of religious meals, like vegetarian Jain meal, Indian vegetarian meal, Kosher meals and non-beef non-vegetarian options as well, the carrier had stated earlier.
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 traveler knowing the subtle differences between meal options given by airlines. Hindu non-veg meant no beef and was safely chosen by Indian travelers. There may be confusion by people booking tickets in initial days,” said a Delhi based travel agent.
The ‘Emirates’ airline operates flights to Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad,Mumbai, Kochi, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram.