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Vistara Innovates On-board Dining Offers

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This full service carrier is changing its menu every sixth day whereas others do that every other quarter and sometimes once a year reports Ashish Sinha  
Aiming to create an unparalleled dining experience so as to make its in-flight hospitality truly memorable, the newest full-service carrier Vistara has bet big on on-board dining. Vistara is offering the widest choices in every meal on its flights for the business, premium economy and economy passengers.
“In-flight meals and its importance was very clear to us even before we launched our services this January. In our surveys, the passenger feedback was quite evident that most airlines were paying less attention to meal choices, diversity of menu, etc. We at Vistara strive to give the best personalised dining experience with artful presentation of freshly prepared food,” said Giam Ming Toh, the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Vistara.
Vistara offers 16 business class seats, 4 rows in 2-2 configuration, in its 148-seater A320 fleet. The business travellers gets to choose from two vegetarian and two non-vegetarian starters as well as the main course. For Premium business passengers, Vistara offers a choice from two vegetarian and a non-vegetarian cuisine. The menu cycle is kept very flexible so that it rotates every six days. “The menu of no two meals are similar on any of our flights,” says Giam Ming Toh, CCO, Vistara.
Speaking about the challenges of catering to Vistara, Arun Batra, Executive Chef at Taj SATS Air Catering Ltd said: “We do 22,000 meals daily from Delhi and cater to over 65 airlines apart from corporate catering. The main challenge of a dynamic meal menu is keeping it fresh and relevant for the passengers. Keeping the food moist and tasty is in itself a challenge when serving at such heights. Our breakfast menu is light where we offer several choices from Indian to continental. The food is kept light for the business traveller. However, the dinner menus are designed as a wholesome food for those returning the same day.”
A typical business class breakfast menu on Vistara includes a choice between Egg Soufflé with zucchini and peppers served with cheesy potatoes and chicken sausage or spicy scrambled eggs with English muffin. Vistara also serves fresh cut fruits, cereals, choice of bread, fresh juice among others. Similar choices for lunch and dinner are available where a passenger gets to choose from Indian, Continental and South East Asian cuisine.
According to a senior Vistara executive, moving away from tray-based on-board catering to box-based catering has helped save 30 per cent weight per meal. “A typical on-board meal served on trays in plastic containers typically weighs 450 grams. Through our eco-friendly boxes, our average meal weighs 300-330 grams. It’s a big innovation,” the executive said.
Apart from innovative and diversified dining options, Vistara is beaming content directly to passenger's personal electronic devices (tablet and smart phones) through one-way Wi-Fi connection on board. For business class passenger the airline provides pre-loaded tablets as an interim solution.
Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, commenced operations on 9 January 2015 with its inaugural flight between Delhi and Mumbai. As of August, the airline operates 243 weekly scheduled passenger service across 10 domestic destinations within India with a fleet of 6 Airbus A320 aircraft. Vistara is the first airline to introduce premium economy seats on domestic routes in India.

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