SINGAPORE – Singapore Airlines (SIA) will bring back appetisers for its economy class meals on medium, long-haul and ultra long-haul flights from June 1.
These items have not been available because of supply issues during the Covid-19 pandemic, among other reasons.
In addition to an appetiser, meals on economy class flights that are 3½ hours and longer will be served with a bread roll, a main course, cheese and crackers, and a dessert, an SIA spokesman said on Wednesday.
Bread rolls will also be added back to economy class meals on short-haul flights between 1½ and 3½ hours, complete with a main course and dessert.
The return of appetisers and bread rolls, first reported by travel website The MileLion on Wednesday, comes after SIA drew flak in recent months over its economy class meals.
Some passengers dubbed its March trial of paper tableware a cost-cutting measure, while netizens in April questioned the food quality in economy class on online forum Reddit.
In response to queries, the SIA spokesman said the airline had removed items from the economy class meal tray due to various operational and supply chain reasons during the pandemic, as well as to reduce food waste.
“Some of these items have since been reintroduced, and we are working closely with our suppliers to bring back other items to the economy class meal tray soon,” she said.
The spokesman clarified that there is no link between the airline’s financial results and the move to reinstate items to the meal tray.
SIA posted a record annual profit of $2.16 billion for the 2022/23 financial year, rebounding from a loss of $962 million the previous year.
The spokesman said: “Plans for this reinstatement began before our full-year results, and some items were also restored to the meal tray before that.”
She added that SIA’s current budget for in-flight meals is about 20 per cent higher than that for 2019/2020 financial year, even though the airline expects that its capacity will be smaller than that year’s.
Regarding the trial paper tableware, SIA said it is better able to retain heat and moisture than a casserole dish and thus allows the airline to serve soupy and gravy-based dishes such as laksa and mee siam.
But after considering feedback from members of the public and from the trial, SIA has decided not to proceed with it for now.
The spokesman said: “A majority of our customers who tried the dishes in the new serviceware enjoyed the taste and variety of food served. We have also received operational feedback on the trial and noted that we may need to improve the design of the box.”
Separately, SIA has put up a tender on its procurement website to buy hot towels. The tender will close at noon on June 5.