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Trying Not to Offend Hindus, British Airways Won't Serve Beef

Trying Not to Offend Hindus, British Airways Won't Serve Beef

I have some bad news for all you who look forward to airline mystery meat: British Airways is taking beef off its in-flight menu, because it does not want to offend riders with religious restrictions.

British Airways' second most popular long-flight is to India. Thus, it is making its entire menu appropriate for Hindu frequent flyers. The change is causing some to cry patriotism, saying that it is devastating that Britain's national carrier will no longer serve beef, Britain's national meal. The English Beef and Lamb Executive are calling the decision a "great shame."

Airborne diners will instead get a choice of fish pie, or a chicken dish. As for the traveler, I don't really see that big of a deal — it's not like they are banning beef in all of Britain, it's just on a flight. But, I can see how the beef industry could be a bit disappointed.

Do you think the decision is bowing to the interest of Hindu passengers at the expense of beef eating passengers? If airlines start worrying about offending other passengers, what will the menu be reduced to? Is British Airways culturally sensitive menu a smart way to attract a reliable customer base?


austerity austerity 9 years
I am a Hindu...and I think this is ridiculous! It's one thing to take less beef with you on a flight because very few passengers are going to eat it anyway (as in a business decision), but shouldn't the rest of your clientele be able to eat what they want to? Aren't they going to feel offended now? I'm a vegetarian too, and I'd be pretty peeved if an airline told me that the Indian vegetarian option (yes verily, they're yummy aren't they ;) ) was off the menu for good because the majority of people does not eat it...why don't the keep some beef options far away from the fish pies etc. so that all clients can get what they want?
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 9 years
I fly BA quite regularly (though not to India), and the food isn't bad - but I never eat the beef option anyway. It makes perfect sense for them to offer what customers are willing to eat, especially if beef is going up in price! And really, just because something is a British national dish does NOT mean that everyone on BA flights (or everyone in England, for that matter) should have to eat it. There's a reason that "fine British cuisine" is an oxymoron... and I say that having lived in the UK for two years. Chicken tikka is the national food of choice for a reason...
verily verily 9 years
If it's only on the to/from India flight, it makes sense to me. Random side note...Continental often offers Indian food as a vegetarian option on their International flights. It's a lot tastier than the regular fare. :)
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
*to and from India.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
For them to yield like this is very telling that Hindus make up a large percentage of their regular passengers. I would not have gone so far as to ban the meat fleet wide. However, a gesture that restricts serving beef on all flights with destination to and originating from shall be beefless is a nice gesture.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
It's yet another case of the minority squashing the rights and prerogatives of the majority.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
This is very considerate of them. It makes sense. With so many people and smells in such a confined area on planes its always a good idea to compromise and be considerate of others. I would wager that those that do not have religious restrictions would not have a problem with not eating beef for a couple hours to make things run a little smoother.
stiletta stiletta 9 years
LOL Fashionista, so true. I don't even know why they call it "meat". It's clearly something entirely different.
NYFashionista NYFashionista 9 years
This is a business decision. Businesses (esp. big businesses) don't do anything out of resepct for others, but simply what's best for their own business interests. That said, meat on any airline is always a litttle too shady for me...
Jillz1128 Jillz1128 9 years
Fish pie sounds gross, but I never eat the airline food if I can help it.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
So "fish pie" appeals to more people than beef? Roast beef *is* an iconic element of British cooking. Jennifer: The article also reads: "The Hindu Council UK said: "The Hindu community will welcome this decision and the news it has been made partly because Hindus don't eat beef." I think the real crux of the matter, as usual, is in the next-to-last paragraph (even though BA denied it): "In the past three months world beef prices have risen from about £2,500 a tonne to more than £4,000 a tonne, largely because of the weakening dollar and rising feed costs." Notice that they still offer beef in the more expensive classes.
LibertySugar LibertySugar 9 years
Hey everyone. I think the Beef and Lamb Executive feel that beef, what they consider the national meal of Britain, should be given preference on flights over the religious restrictions. I agree that it BA is appealing to its customer base, and to as many customers in general. If they can only serve so many options, it makes sense to serve those that do not have religious restrictions.
syako syako 9 years
Jennifer, I love you. :notworthy:
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
Thanks for the additional info, jennifer76.
bengalspice bengalspice 9 years
Are there any airlines who serve pork? I can't remember the last time there was any dietary issue pertaining to airlines for my family; then again, we always specify when we check in that we eat halal/kosher. I thought airlines like BA were given a list of what the preferred meals would be to cut down on bringing too much of an undesired dish [in this case beef].
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
If this is their clientel then why not cater to them? They are a business and as such they are in it to make money.
MSucre MSucre 9 years
At first I was thinking, why don't they just offer a beef alternative to the Hindu passengers. But after reading jennifer's comment above, I agree. This is just commen sense. Half of the passengers would never eat it, so it's a waste to serve it.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
But, the direct quote from BA is...
"It has nothing to do with the fear of causing offence - we always offer alternative meals for people with special dietary requirements if they order in advance. "We are still serving beef based meals on certain menus in First Class and Club World and are currently deciding on whether or not to use beef on the menus for World Traveller customers for the winter season."
Besides, according to the Hindu Council UK...
"Hindus have a great deal of respect for British culture and are well integrated into the British way of life, so it's good to see evidence of how they are literally flying the British flag by choosing British Airways. "That said, Hindus are tolerant of the beliefs of others and do not expect everyone to stop eating a food because they do not eat it."
It seems that only the headline writer is attributing this to not wanting to cause offense. This is just good business sense. I've read in other articles that 40% of BA passengers in these "World Traveller" flights are Hindu. It seems a little silly to obstinately keep serving something that almost half of your customers will never eat. I think this is a nonstory.
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