Japanese airline suggests passengers skip meals to reduce food waste

Japan Airlines is asking some travelers to make an “ethical choice” by skipping meals on board their flights, but a representative for the airline says the measure is about reducing food waste, not cutting costs.

The airline explains that the “ethical choice” option is currently only available on select overnight flights within Asia, as many passengers opt to sleep through the whole flight instead of wake up for the meal service.

Since the airline prepares a meal for every person on board, a passenger who would rather sleep through meal service — or who prefers the snacks they brought from home — results in wasted food.

The program was inspired by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, one of which is reducing food waste around the world. In Japan, companies have become competitive in their approach to meeting these goals.

It was first implemented on a trial basis on flights between Bangkok and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport in November.

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