The Japanese airline industry has recently entered a phase of stiff competition as low cost carriers from countries like Europe have entered the scene.  Mainstays JAL and ANA have had to come up with more creative solutions to attract people to their higher-priced offerings.

JAL’s initiative has been to collaborate with popular restaurant chains so that people can enjoy their favorite foods instead of the dishes that are so-often the target of stand-up comedians.  Already they have sold hamburgers from fast food chain Mos Burger in a project called AIR Mos Burger, as well as dumplings from popular Chinese food chain Edosei with AIR NikumanThe third time’s the charm as now the granddaddy of Japanese fast food comes to the skies with AIR Yoshinoya.

All classes on-board JAL’s international flights from 1 March to May 31 can choose the AIR Yoshinoya experience.  This meal includes one regular serving of gyudon (beef and rice bowl) with the usual toppings offered in their restaurant, a side dish and for dessert, some almond jelly.  The last part is exclusive to AIR Yoshinoya, as the restaurant doesn’t usually deal with desserts.

Since it’s served on a plane, Yoshinoya had to take certain precautions to ensure a tasty experience.  First, all the ingredients of the gyudon are served separately. It’s a minor nuisance but probably better than what would result from keeping them together for several hours on an airplane.  Second, to combat the dryness of 12,000 meters above sea level, Yoshinoya has added extra sauce, which sounds just awesome.

This union seems to be a match made in heaven for all involved.  Both companies’ execs came out of the closet at the unveiling ceremony to say that they are rabid fans of each other’s services:  JAL’s chairman Kazuo Inamori has a rice bowl with his name printed on it and Yoshinoya’s CEO Jyuji Abe is a holder of gold and diamond JAL cards.

Mr. Abe also pointed out how this will be great chance for more women to get to know Yoshinoya’s signature taste.  Company research has shown that male customers outnumber female 8:2.

I hope this will get some more ladies in there, since every time I go to Yoshinoya it’s a sausage fest.

Source: MSN, MyNavi  (Japanese)
Photo:JAPAN AIRLINES(Japanese)