October 25th, 2012 – 76% of women surveyed feel that airlines are not doing enough to cater to their needs!
We ran an independent survey in conjunction with the folks at http://www.maiden-voyage.com, 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 everyone who has ever travelled on an aircraft will have an airline horror meal story. However, what if you’re a female traveller? Is the inflight meal experience different for women who travel regularly for business? Apparently so according to our survey results…
Over 100 women (who travel regularly for business or pleasure) were surveyed in relation to their inflight eating habits, special meal requirements, purchasing habits and their favourite airline meals.
Of the women surveyed, 76% stated that meals were either too heavy in carbohydrates or suited more to male consumers. What about those women who travel on low cost or airlines who do not offer free food? Only 20% said that they purchase something on board an aircraft and over 40% of women stated that they pre-plan their meals for their flight. This is a huge opportunity for airlines to improve their buy on board offering further.
Carolyn Pearson, CEO of maiden-voyage.com confirms that “female business travellers 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 inflight 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 is 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 inflight meal offerings. However it was two UK airlines that ranked well and it found that 20% of respondents ranked Virgin Atlantic airline food suitable to their needs and 14% stated that British Airways was their favourite. Of the low cost airlines easyJet was recognised 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 inflight services commence at the front of the aircraft and move towards 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% of respondents have paid to “upgrade” their meal, with 41% 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 of meal whilst 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 inflight 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% of female travellers’ 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 inflight 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 UK 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 inflight meals to passengers, everything is sourced from local producers and created fresh daily. Unlike other airlines Kullaflyg offers their organic inflight range to passengers in economy class. Their breakfast options consist of a choice of sandwiches made from locally freshly baked bread or Greek yoghurt 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.
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