Qantas is bringing back vegetarian meals and snacks on short flights

Vegetarian meals are returning to the menu on all Qantas domestic flights after their removal from short-haul routes sparked a backlash from the public.

The airline has also promised a “broader menu refresh” to launch in October, which will include “new vegetarian options” plus fresh fruit on all domestic flights under 3.5 hours.

“As an example, for the evening meal service, a zucchini and corn fritter could be carried on board in addition to a chicken and leek pie.”

Qantas reduced its in-flight menu on all domestic flights under 3.5 hours in early 2020 at the start of the pandemic, which meant some flights had only one snack option – what if it was a familiar chicken and leek pie, for example, it often meant vegetarian passengers were hungry.

This simplified menu has since remained in place. “We now offer only one meal/snack option per flight on our shorter flights, such as chicken pot pie or zucchini and onion frittata,” the carrier explained earlier this week.

“If the option on a particular flight is not suitable for vegetarians, we try to provide an alternative of a small sweet or savory snack that is vegetarian.”

The airline recently cited ‘high levels of waste’ as one of the drivers for the reduced menu, but today pledged to restore vegetarian options and fresh fruit to all flights after it came under fire from the public. passengers this week.

Veggie meals and fake meats

“We’ve had to make many changes to our service during COVID and we’re still bringing things back and updating others,” said Phil Capps, Qantas’ executive director of products and services.

“We’ve heard the message loud and clear to have vegetarian offerings on all our flights and so we’re making this change a priority.”

Capps added that the airline is “in the midst of a broader refresh of our home network menu to be rolled out from October, which includes new vegetarian options.”

“There is a lot of work underway to get Qantas back to its best and that includes listening to feedback from our customers as we continue to invest in our products and services.”

Executive Traveler sought further clarification from Qantas on eligible flight times for a traditional breakfast, lunch or dinner as opposed to a small snack served in a cardboard box.

However, even a dinner service can leave vegetarian passengers out: for example, on a recent 18.40 Qantas flight from Cairns to Sydney, one of the Executive Traveler The team received a small, economical lunch box containing three party-sized pies, only one of which was vegetarian (lentil and mushroom).

As previously reported, Qantas will soon be launching ‘artificial meat’ meals on flights and in lounges by the end of this year.

“We are planning a lot of menus for the future over the next month, and I think in the next six months we hope to launch some things,” said Qantas chef Neil Perry. Executive Traveler in July.

“We will have a full plant-based dish on each of the menus and we’ve also started looking at plant-based meats like Beyond, Impossible and V2, which is an Australian product.”

The Roo’s Last Misstep

Arch-rival Virgin Australia has switched to a ‘buy on board’ menu for economy – a move Qantas promises not to replicate – while challenger Regional Express is offering a free snack and drink to economy class passengers .

However, Qantas’ meager economy meals on short flights arguably make it easier for travelers to reconsider the overall value when it comes to the difference in airfares charged by Qantas, Virgin and Rex – and ask how many journeys on a “ full service ‘ the airline is definitely worth it.

For its part, Qantas says it remains “the only domestic airline to offer free food and drink, free baggage and onboard WiFi on its domestic Boeing 737 and Airbus A330, on all economy fares”.

The catering cuts and reduced meal options are the latest in a series of stumbles to confront the airline since the start of the long-awaited rebound in travel in late 2021.

The growing list of seemingly endless woes includes hour-long phone wait times for call centers, delayed and canceled flights, and lost luggage.

It led CEO Alan Joyce to issue an unprecedented public apology, saying ‘when it comes to what you expect from Qantas, it’s not good enough’ – and promising to bring the airline back ‘to its best while offering a host of make-good measures for the airline’s 14 million frequent flyers, such as a 12-month status extension, $50 flight vouchers, free passes for the lounge, bonus Qantas points and the opening of more points-based award seats.

Additional reporting by Matt Lennon

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