Fiji Airways launches 'Dine on the Ground' service for business class passengers

Fiji Airways launches 'Dine on the Ground' service for business class passengers
Photo credit: Fiji Airways

Fiji Airways has announced it's putting a unique spin on in-flight dining, by not serving the food in-flight.

The new luxury dining service, called 'Dine on the Ground', offers passengers a pre-flight meal. 

The new service was launched following research from the airline which it says found, on average, New Zealanders discard 32 percent of in-flight meals.

Passengers had either preferred to sleep rather than have their supper, or just wanted lighter snacks as opposed to full meals. 

Fiji Airways launches 'Dine on the Ground' service for business class passengers
Photo credit: Fiji Airways

The new service is available to business class and premier guests taking either a morning or late evening flight out of Nadi.

The meal will be served at Fiji Airways' premier lounge shortly before boarding. 

As well as food, passengers can order barista-made coffee, juices or something from the full bar service available.

Fiji Airways' CEO Andre Viljoen says the airline has spent months analysing things like food consumption, sleep patterns and feedback from passengers themselves.

Fiji Airways launches 'Dine on the Ground' service for business class passengers
Photo credit: Fiji Airways

"While the in-flight experience has improved dramatically over the years across all airlines, the way in which food is served hasn't changed too much," Viljoen said.

When onboard, passengers will still be able to order lighter snacks or supper, such as fruit bowls, paninis, fresh salads, tapas and soups. 

The Dine on the Ground service is available from Tuesday on the following routes:

Nadi – Christchurch 

Nadi – Hong Kong 

Nadi – Wellington (mid-morning service)

Nadi – Sydney (mid-morning service)

Nadi – Brisbane (mid-morning service)

Nadi – Los Angeles

Nadi – San Francisco

However, by dining pre-flight, onboard meals better reflect the time of day and reduce the amount of food wastage.

The Fiji Airways study shows one in five Kiwis prefer to skip food service in favour of sleeping.

Fiji Airways launches 'Dine on the Ground' service for business class passengers
Photo credit: Fiji Airways

The airline has worked with health and wellness expert Mark Bunn, who says serving food on the ground instead of in-flight could knock hours off jet-lag, especially on long-haul flights like those between Aotearoa and the US.

"Most of us find it hard enough to sleep on flights, but eating large meals onboard will only make that worse, due to bloating and indigestion," Bunn said. 

"By dining on the ground before take-off, you're giving your body enough time to digest the food – meaning you'll be more comfortable and more likely to sleep."

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