Melbourne: Singapore Airlines has been
accused of serving chicken to a vegetarian Hindu woman who was
travelling from New Zealand to India.
According to New Zealand media reports today, 56-year-old
Pushplata Sharma claimed of falling sick after she was served
chicken on a flight to India.
Sharma of Blenheim, New Zealand, has been a vegetarian
throughout her life as part of her religion and never ate meat
A Singapore Airlines spokesman said the airline was
concerned that Sharma was served the wrong food, but the
booking made by the travel agent did not ask for a special
It was said that Sharma booked her tickets through a
travel agent and requested an Indian vegetarian meal. However,
after a mix-up between the agent and the airline, the request
was forgotten that led to serving of the wrong meal to her.
Sharma further mentioned that when she was given the
meal, she thought the chicken was cheese. She realised the
mistake only after she had eaten some and was immediately
A crew member who could understand her language
apologised and brought her rice, chickpeas and bread, but she
did not eat anything more on the flight or on the return
journey, she said.
She felt sick whenever she thought of the meal, and had
gone to a doctor for treatment for depression, she said.
"We don`t eat any non-vegetarian food. We give the food
to God first, then we eat it. I gave meat to the god," she
According to her son-in-law Ajay Gaur, the incident was
horrible for his mother-in-law and a blip in more than half a
century of perfect adherence to the Hindu faith.
Singapore Airlines New Zealand passenger services manager
Murray Wild said the company catered for many different
dietary requirements and took the incident seriously.
"We are concerned to learn of this incident, and we
regret any distress this may have caused," he said.
"We are heartened that our cabin crew were able to
recover the situation and offer the preferred meal. We also
subsequently updated the booking to ensure the necessary
dietary requests were made for the rest of the journey.
"The airline would be looking at how the incident
happened, along with the travel agent, and would keep Sharma
informed, he said.