China Southern Airlines is trialling a new “green initiative” that will allow passengers to forgo meals for miles.
The airline, which posted record profits in 2018, has been sending out text messages to passengers to check if they need an inflight meal. Passengers can opt against having a meal onboard by replying to the text. In return, they receive 200 miles, which are credited within 10 working days after the flight.
Those who still wish to have one can simply ignore the text.
According to the text sent, this is a new trial initiative for greener travel and reducing waste onboard. This is the translated text, as per Google Translate:
[China Southern Airlines] Dear passengers: China Southern advocates green travel, dine on demand and reduce waste. If you do not need on-board dining, reply to the number “1” to cancel your February 23 Guangzhou-Shanghai Hongqiao CZ3531 flight meal, you can get an additional 200 miles award (the flight plan is valid 2 hours before departure).
The event runs on a partial flight test. Award miles are expected to be credited within 10 working days after the actual trip (non-members can earn mileage awards before joining February 24, stamping https://m.csair.com/b/?L3fmBprZUI. I wish you a pleasant trip!
There has been no official word from the airline, which recently appointed their new chief Ma Xulun, who had previously been at China Eastern Airlines for 10 years. It isn’t clear how long these trials will last and if passengers in higher classes are also receiving similar messages – if you have an upcoming flight, do share your experience in the comments below or in the Milelion Telegram group.
As far as I know, this is the first time an airline is offering miles in exchange for food. The closest thing we’ve seen is United doing the reverse – allowing passengers to pay for meals with miles (3.7k miles for roast chicken, anyone?).
I’m not sure how you feel about meals in Economy on China Southern – I opted to skip the meal on the one and only occasion I flew with the airline. Matthew from Live and Let’s Fly, however, said it reminded him of “why people complain about airline meals”.
If this is so, getting 200 miles for mediocre food isn’t too bad after all.
Which would you choose: an Economy meal or 200 miles?