Do Men and Women Eat Differently in Flight?
InFlight Feed survey finds women not satisfied with in-flight food options
We ran an independent survey in conjunction with the folks at Maiden Voyage, the business travel network for professional women, to find out what women really want from airline meals.
Let’s face it, airline meals seem to always get a bad rap and anyone who has ever traveled on an aircraft has an airline meal horror story. However, what if you’re a female traveler? Is the in-flight meal experience different for women who travel regularly for business? Apparently so, according to our survey results…
More than 100 women (who travel regularly for business or pleasure) were surveyed in relation to their in-flight eating habits, special meal requirements, purchasing habits, and favorite airline meals.
Of the women surveyed, 76 percent stated that meals were either too heavy in carbohydrates or suited more to male consumers. What about women who travel on low-cost airlines or on airlines that do not offer free food? Only 20 percent said that they purchase something on-board an aircraft and more than 40 percent stated that they pre-plan their meals for their flight. This is a huge opportunity for airlines to improve their buy on-board offerings further.
Carolyn Pearson, CEO of Maiden Voyage, confirms that "female business travelers are typically are more diet-conscious than ever. They are more likely to buy a healthy snack before boarding a flight because they cannot be sure what will be on offer on-board. Airlines could increase their in-flight revenues by ensuring that they offer healthy options but also make their passengers aware before they shop elsewhere."
Nikos Loukas from Inflight Feed explains “Airlines tend to look at passenger demographics on each route in order to work out what will be offered on their buy on-board menus. Unfortunately in many cases carbohydrate heavy options and unhealthy snacks tend to win."
It’s worth noting that many of the survey participants felt that buy on-board products were expensive, offering little choice and many times items were already sold out. However it’s not all doom and gloom. Mary Kirby, editor in chief of the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) media platform, explains that "Virgin America offers some great buy on-board options that are healthy, delicious, and well-priced. I also love the menu options and wide variety that are available on FlyDubai."
Of the airlines mentioned in the survey, Asian carriers, such as Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and Korean Air, faired very well with their in-flight meal offerings. However, two U.K. airlines ranked well, with 20 percent of respondents ranking Virgin Atlantic airline food suitable to their needs and 14 percent stating that British Airways was their favorite. Of the low-cost airlines, easyJet was recognized as being the leader in buy on-board snack options for women.
- Sometimes it’s about where you sit
If you happen to be flying low-cost, didn’t prepare your snacks, and didn’t have time to purchase anything in the airport, what can you do? "Sit closer to the front of the aircraft," says Loukas. Most in-flight services commence at the front of the aircraft and move toward the rear of the aircraft. "You really have no hope in getting your first choice if you’re sitting close to the back of the aircraft."
The survey results revealed that only 10 percent of respondents have paid to "upgrade" their meal, with 41 percent stating that they would pay an extra $10 to upgrade their meals. Pre-order meal options on airlines are on the increase; passengers can now purchase a business class-style meal while sitting in economy class. These meals are certainly a class above those generally dished out to economy class passengers; therefore, if you want to indulge or have a culinary in-flight dining experience, pay to upgrade your meal! Some of the airlines offering upgrade options include: KLM, Air France, Delta Airlines, US Airways, Air Berlin, Sun Express, Austrian Airlines, Monarch, and Jet2.
- Order the special meal
Many people these days are ordering special meals even if they do not follow a strict diet or lifestyle choice diet. A savvy 56 percent of female travelers surveyed pre-ordered a special meal in the hope of receiving something that is more palatable, and it’s worth noting that those ordering a special meal are served first.
- Do a bit of research
Some airlines are really trying hard to impress us with amazing in-flight meal options. Do a bit of research before you travel; you may actually be surprised at what‘s on offer. Skywork airlines in Switzerland will serve you a meal based on the destination you are flying to, very creative indeed and a lovely experience. Therefore, if you’re flying from the U.K. to Switzerland, they will serve you a local Swiss dish option. Flying to Italy? Expect an Italian-inspired dish to get your trip started before you even arrive.
Kullaflyg (a Swedish based airline) offers only organic in-flight meals to passengers, and everything is sourced from local producers and created fresh daily. Unlike other airlines, Kullaflyg offers their organic in-flight range to passengers in economy class. Their breakfast options consist of a choice of sandwiches made from local freshly baked bread or Greek yogurt with homemade muesli. If those dishes don’t tickle your fancy you can also choose from a wide range of organic egg options, which are served with caviar cream.
For more news about food inflight, visit InFlightFeed.com