Malaysia Airlines is telling passengers with special dietary or medical needs to pack their own food after the Kuala Lumpur-based carrier sacked its main catering supplier without first lining up a replacement.
The embattled airline says it could take months for things to get back to normal, and while most passengers should receive some form of alternative meal, Malaysia Airlines isn’t able to cater special meals for people with special dietary needs.
That means that passengers who are vegan or need a gluten-free meal or who would normally request a low-sodium or low-fat meal are being “encouraged” to bring their food onboard.
Malaysia Airlines will also not be able to specifically cater for passengers with religious dietary needs during the transition, including Jain, Hindu and Kosher meals.
The airline provided little more than a day’s notice of the disruption that was about to hit when it issued a statement last Thursday, saying that it had severed its ‘longstanding partnership with its ‘anchor caterer’, Brahim’s Food Service.
“Starting 1 September 2023, Malaysia Airlines will be transiting to a new catering service on our selected domestic and international routes within the Malaysia Airlines’ network,” the airline said in a statement.
“During this transition, passengers may experience minor modifications to their regular meal offerings in-flight.”
The airline admitted that it hadn’t yet found a new catering partner but a spokesperson attempted to reassure passengers, saying the company had “initiated a robust business continuity plan to provide alternative food and beverage options”.
On shorter flights, Malaysia Airlines says passengers should expect to be served pre-packaged meals consisting of ambient foods like biscuits and bakery items, while a ‘revised’ meal service will be offered on longer flights.
The disruption should only affect flights departing from the carrier’s Kuala Lumpur hub.
Malaysia Airlines hasn’t been able to provide a timeline for how long things should get back to normal, but the carrier said it hoped to improve its in-flight catering in the months ahead.
A spokesperson said passengers won’t be offered compensation for the disruption because the airline hopes to offer a “comparative meal offering”.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.