As Air India is about to be officially handed over to the Tata Group, travelers will experience a host of changes to ‘Maharaja’ flights from Thursday.
The immediate change that will be noticeable will relate to the meal services offered on board Air India flights. India Today Television has learned that the airline is already upgrading its meal plans to be ‘full’ for certain sectors from Thursday. Changes will be made in most areas over time in a phased manner.
IMPROVED MEAL PLANS
From today, changes will be made to meal plans on the Mumbai-Delhi, Mumbai-Abu Dhabi, Mumbai-Bengaluru, Mumbai-Newark and Mumbai-London routes.
Here are the details of the flights that will see the changes first:
January 27 – AI 864 BOM-DEL, AI 687 BOM-DEL, AI 945 BOM-AUH, AI 639 BOM-BLR
January 28 – AI 191 BOM-EWR, AI 806 BOM-DEL, AI 809 BOM-DEL, AI 660 BOM-DEL, AI 888 BOM-DEL, AI 867 BOM-DEL
January 29 – AI 268 BOM-DEL and AI 131 BOM-LHR.
Sources said this meal upgrade plan was developed by Taj SATS, the airline catering service run by the Taj Group.
SOP FOR MEAL SERVICE
Additionally, in a circular dated January 21, all cabin crew members were advised that beverage service will be required to be performed in accordance with Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) before each major meal.
This would involve the use of a service cart for beverage service in first and business class, and bar carts with soft drink service in economy class.
MESSAGE FROM RATAN TATA
One of the highlights as Air India becomes a ‘Tata company’ will be the changes in in-flight announcements. From Friday, if all goes according to plan, you may hear the booming voice of the 84-year-old face of the Tata conglomerate on board, Ratan Tata marking this historic transition. A special Ratan Tata audio address is set to be played on flights as the ‘Maharajah’ returns home.
WINE GLASSES, MELAMINE MUGS
The crew was specifically instructed to use highball glasses and wine glasses to serve drinks to Business and First Class passengers.
Similarly, they were asked to use pre-set melamine cups for tea/coffee service in economy class and porcelain cups in business and first class.
The circular, a copy of which is in the possession of India Today Television, also pointed out that newspapers and magazines should be offered to business class and first class passengers before take-off, and should be displayed in magazine racks in economy class.
BLANKETS, PILLOWS FOR ECONOMY CLASS
While duvets/blankets and pillows must be provided for all Business Class and First Class passengers, 50 blankets/pillows must be reserved for on-demand use by Economy Class passengers.
In communications sent Wednesday to all cabin crew, they were asked to be “elegantly dressed, respecting the regulations”. “Cabin crew are important brand ambassadors who play a vital role in building the brand/image,” read one such communication that India Today Television saw.
The crew have been informed that ‘grooming associates’ will observe them to see how they present themselves.
PASSENGERS WILL BE GUESTS
Similarly, airline management has emphasized that the role of the crew supervisor will be very important. “They will supervise/monitor the entire flight for safety standards and quality of services provided to guests,” he was informed.
It was emphasized that passengers should be treated as “guests”.
PERFORMANCE ON TIME
Additionally, in communications with the crew, Air India management emphasized that punctuality is important. “All are striving to close the doors at D minus 10 minutes,” read an internal memo.
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