Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

How expensive is too expensive for food and water on flights?

According to a recent survey by LocalCircles, Indian citizens have raised concerns about packaged food and water being sold at 5-15 times the MRP on flights in the past year

Samidha Jain
Published: Jan 9, 2024 01:33:53 PM IST
Updated: Jan 9, 2024 02:26:15 PM IST

How expensive is too expensive for food and water on flights?72 percent of Indian fliers say that airlines sold bottles of water with a published MRP higher than the MRP available in the market/ stores. Image: Shutterstock

A flight ticket between Mumbai to Delhi generally costs somewhere between Rs 4000- Rs 6000. And if you are hungry and decide to eat Chicken Cup Noodles on the flight, for instance, you might need to pay Rs 500 for it—almost 13 percent of the cost of your flight ticket, being sold at a different MRP than in markets/stores. 

LocalCircles, a social media platform and pollster focusing on governance, public and consumer interest issues, recently conducted a survey to gauge the concerns of citizens regarding prices of food and beverages sold on flights after receiving numerous complaints over the past 12 months. The report, which surveyed over 20,000 citizens from 322 districts in India, highlighted that consumers are being charged a significantly higher price when buying packaged food or water on their flights. This is despite the guidelines by the government and orders by the national commission prohibiting identical pre-packaged products from having different MRPs at different locations.

The report mentions that in 2017, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) amended the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, effectively banning dual MRP. These rules came into effect from January 1, 2018, following the official notification by the Government. However, in practice this rule is still not being followed strictly due to lack of proper enforcement.

According to the report, 59 percent of fliers surveyed said that airlines sold them packaged food with a published MRP higher than the MRP available in the market/ stores, with 23 percent citizens reporting the MRP to be 10x higher. When it comes to water sold on flights, 72 percent of fliers said that airlines sold bottles of water with a published MRP higher than the MRP available in the market/ stores, with 36 percent citizens reporting the MRP to be 10x higher.  

In conclusion, the report suggested that since the practice of dual MRP is not in the interest of consumers and is a violation of the law, airlines must either sell pre-packaged water and foods for products also available in the market at the established MRP or stop selling such products altogether.