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Cathay Pacific is Asking Frequent Flyers if They’d Be Willing to Bring Their Own Cutlery to Eat in Business Class

Cathay Pacific is Asking Frequent Flyers if They’d Be Willing to Bring Their Own Cutlery to Eat in Business Class

a group of people in an airplane

Like many airlines, Cathay Pacific is on a mission to try to make its fuel-guzzling business more sustainable. Much of the focus is on developing sustainable aviation fuels in a bid to slash CO₂. emissions, but there are lots of other sustainability initiatives that airlines are working on to make their businesses greener and more responsible.

Whether that be slashing the use of single-use plastics or reducing the amount of food waste, there are a lot of initiatives that are increasingly visible to passengers. One of the latest sustainability ideas from the Hong Kong-based carrier may, however, raise some eyebrows.

Cathay Pacific has sent out a survey to some frequent flyers through its Cathay Lab consumer community, which consists of more than 10,000 customers around the world. The survey is seeking feedback on what initiatives customers traveling in Business Class would be willing to participate in to make Cathay Pacific more sustainable.

Some of these initiatives are pretty standard – such as asking whether customers would be willing to hand empty single-use plastic water bottles back to cabin crew so that they can be recycled or even depositing the bottle in a recycling can as they disembark.

Another question gauges how willing customers would be to travel with their own reusable water bottle, while a fourth question asks whether customers would be happy to bring their own cutlery set with them onboard.

Yes, you read that right. Cathay Pacific is gauging how willing Business Class passengers would be to bring their own cutlery set with them.

This is, of course, just a consumer survey, and there’s no suggestion that Cathay Pacific is just about to remove cutlery from its flights, although it does go to show the extreme sustainability initiatives that the airline is actively investigating.

Cathay Pacific is already in the process of phasing out single-use plastic cups, replacing plastic cutlery in Economy Class with lightweight metal cutlery and wrapping blankets in biodegradable plastic covers.

The airline is also attempting to cut back on food waste with a range of initiatives, including encouraging passengers to pre-book their chosen meal ahead of their flight.

Food waste, in particular, is a focus area for many airlines because any leftover food normally has to be incinerated in order to comply with international quarantine rules.

Several months ago, a Dutch flag carrier boasted that it had introduced artificial intelligence into its meal planning system for Business Class, which aims to guess how many passengers will actually make a flight rather than how many are booked.

In a three-month trial, KLM says that the system helped to slash food waste by 63% compared to the old method of simply loading enough meals for every booked passenger, although AI isn’t infallible, and sometimes there aren’t enough meals loaded.

Taking this concept to another level, Japan Airlines gives passengers the option to opt out of having a meal loaded for them – an idea that JAL dubs the ‘ethical choice’.

View Comments (4)
  • On the basis of this survey, Cathay should just shut down. It’s beyond ridiculous. Just think of the sanitary issues with reusable water bottles and cutlery. Think of the weight and space this takes in a passenger carry on. It’s just absurd. Maybe these questions are test questions to test the level of absurdity or as an attention check to see who is paying attention and if they say yes the airline knows to discount the survey takers answers altogether.

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