The JAL rep explains to CNN 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.
Guests can opt to forego their meal service ahead of time by going on JAL’s website or calling the airline once they’ve confirmed their flight reservation, similar to the way they might request a vegetarian or kosher meal in advance.
While many airlines offer the opportunity to say “no thanks” to meal service during the flight, JAL’s approach means that no extra meals are prepared and then thrown out.
In addition to the meal-skipping option, JAL recycles maintenance engineer uniforms into sound-insulating cotton fiber and has flight attendants use iPads in-flight to cut down on printing paper menus.