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Japan Airlines Tells Passengers It’s Unethical To Eat On Board

Date: January 7, 2023

By Gary Leff, View From The Wing

Japan Airlines is asking business class customers to skip meals on board, telling them it is the ethical thing to do.

JAL, which first tested this on their overnight Bangkok – Tokyo Haneda flight at the end of 2020, will give you an extra amenity kit as a thank you. Are they even eliminating waste?

Now, you may think you’re going to eat in the lounge before your flight and skip the meal on board. But then you’re running late and don’t and don’t have time. I’m not sure it’s even a good idea to flag that you don’t plan to eat, since there’s a chance your ability to predict your future self is imperfect.

Delta Air Lines offers business class customers the choice to pre-select skipping a meal which they promote will “help reduce food waste.” Now, why do they do this?

  • The environment. I do not believe this. No one greenwashes like Delta (well, maybe Frontier which claims to be the ‘greenest airline’ after all they paint their planes green). Delta owns an oil refinery but sure it’s for the planet.

  • Cost savings. This seems to me the obvious answer, but Delta objects to this framing (but doesn’t offer an alternative one).

Still they do not go nearly as far as Japan Airlines which claims the ethical choice is not to eat on board, which must make a business class passenger choosing to eat unethical.

China Southern, which has promoted passengers skipping meals on flights under 800 miles, at least rewards them with miles when making this choice, effectively splitting the savings so both the airline and passenger benefit.

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