Now, passengers aboard Air India Express can relish gourmet dining curated by celebrity chef

Herb-grilled chicken breast with sautéed vegetables served onboard Air India Express flights.

Herb-grilled chicken breast with sautéed vegetables served onboard Air India Express flights.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The frugal, free snack box distributed to passengers onboard Air India Express aircraft has now become a thing of the past with the airline replacing it with new luxury gourmet dining on international and domestic routes at an ‘affordable’ price.

With the recent integration of two low-cost subsidiary airlines — Air India Express and AirAsia India – the airline introduced a harmonised in-flight menu offering a wide range of vegetarian, pescetarian, poultry, eggetarian, vegan, Jain, healthy and diabetic options for passengers.

Speaking to The Hindu, an airline source said it has now introduced the new in-flight ‘Gourmair’ offering a variety of exquisite dishes to capture the essence of regional culinary traditions in the country for its passengers without burning a hole on the pockets of budget travellers. This is also part of upgrading the in-flight experience as the previous snack box was not deemed much attractive.

Gourmair is curated by celebrity master chef Kirti Bhoutika, winner of MasterChef India Season 5. It admittedly features a melange of MasterChef specials, liight bites, innovative desserts, and global and regional favourites to tickle the taste buds of passengers. Be it idlis, medu vada and upma, or masala omelette with chicken sausages and hash brownies, or the MasterChef special vegan moilee curry with coconut rice and so on, all these would be served oven-hot at high altitudes, according to the airline.

The airline has tied up with flight kitchens such as TajSATS, Casino and Lulu in 16 Indian cities, including Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Mangaluru, Chennai, Trichy, Goa, Amritsar, and overseas, including Dubai, Sharjah and Singapore. The flight kitchens will prepare the food based on orders and pick up these from the respective airports. The passengers can book their in-flight menu up to 24 hours prior to departure in international sectors and up to 12 hours prior to departure in the domestic sector.

Perhaps, what makes the in-flight menu rather unique is the price for various dishes which ranges from ₹300 to ₹600, said the airline source.

However, the withdrawal of free snack boxes from Air India Express flights has not gone down well with a section of passengers who have termed it “a fallout of privatisation” of the airline.

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