Singapore Airlines accused of serving chicken to Indian woman

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 or eggs.

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 meal.

It was said that Sharma booked her tickets through a travel agent and requested an Indian vegetarian meal. However, after a mixup 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 sick.

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 said.

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.

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