Why makes an airline give out free food?

7 replies

AirportAddict

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 05 Jan 2012

Total posts 175

Why makes an airline give out free food?

This meals bizzo gets me. Tiger Airways dont offer free food basically because the airline is plane cheap and nasty. Jetstar doesnt offer free food because it is just a low cost carrier who does as little as possible to keep the costs down. Qantas offers all free food and beverages. When it comes to Virgin, they have fares that are usually around the same sort of cost as Qantas but do not offer food or beverages unless you hop on a specific flight or go the extra mile and book a flexi or a business fare. Is Qantas stupid for offering food? or is Virgin stupid for not?

X

British Airways - Executive Club

Member since 24 Jan 2012

Total posts 84

There are many considerations for airlines supplying catering onboard flights.
On the plus side it improves your product and onboard and onboard offering, which is appealing to passengers. This gives you a competitive edge over other carriers who do not provide food.
On the other hand it is an added expense, which raises ticket prices, for a product not all passengers want. It is extra work on the ground, another step that can go wrong and potentially delay the aircraft.

Virgin is transitioning from a Low Cost Carrier to a Full Service Carrier. In the Australian market, Qantas was the only full service airline, whilst the low cost market was crowded with Virgin, Jetstar, Tiger and even Air Australia. Virgin has therefore decided to compete with one carrier (with quite a few problems) instead of the multiple carriers it was competing with. It has an advantage in that it's operating costs are much cheaper than Qantas'. Fact is, Business Class yield is highly profitable for airlines, so if it has to offer food to capture that corporate market, you'd have to argue that that is a very smart move.

Whilst they are only offering limited food service on some flights, I believe they will start to include more meals, slowly. It's a big task to get a catering company to supply meals to 400+ flights a day. Introducing it slowly through Business Class is a step towards offering full meal service onboard.

AirportAddict

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 05 Jan 2012

Total posts 175

So do you think that if they can become a full service carrier, will they ever equal Qantas? how far do you think they would get to it?

X

British Airways - Executive Club

Member since 24 Jan 2012

Total posts 84

I don't think Virgin will go as far as Qantas. They describe themselves as a New World Carrier, which is a great position to be in over a legacy carrier like Qantas. Whilst Qantas employ their own ground staff and caterers, Virgin outsource alot of this to ground handlers and external caterers which is much cheaper.

Virgin will go as far as they need to, to capture the corporate market that they are after. The focus will be on business orientated products including more lounges, great onboard product, and a good frequent flyer program. I believe supplying meals to all passengers will be crucial to this strategy too.

I doubt they will expand their international network to be as large as QF, as QF's international network loses money. There current approach is to expand through alliances with EY, DL, NZ and SQ.

AirportAddict

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 05 Jan 2012

Total posts 175

Then i suppose they way it will churn out, we will have Virgin Australia with a moderate market share and Qantas battling to keep ahead and looking for other options and opportunities in asia and further afield.

But if Red Q goes ahead, it is supposed to have an even better product than the current Qantas. Qantas may one day revert to staying domestic and making Q the substitute for international flights. This is a very imaginative guess, but i reckon Q will come on instead of Qantas International. I am thinking it will mean that they will just move their hub and become something new so that they can have more opportunities. 

AirportParty

Member since 27 Jan 2012

Total posts 60

But Qantas is close to outsourcing as well?

AirportParty

Member since 27 Jan 2012

Total posts 60

just being generous!

Ansett76

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 03 Mar 2013

Total posts 3

Qantas has already sold off a few catering arms such as Cairns which is now Gate Gourmet.  I cannot understand why, when booking you don't have an option to pay an extra 20 bucks or so to have meals included. This would ensure no wastage and the costs are well covered (in economy anyways). Is funny every time I have had to fly JQ Per-Cns as Qantas gave it to JQ yrs ago and it's the only direct offering, the odd time I haven't eaten before hand and thought I would by a hot meal on board to fill the gap, I ALWAYS get the standard reply "sorry we have sold out of hot meals, but our wraps are the last left of the day and on sale".  So yeah an  wrap probably sitting inboard for 12 hrs is all that's left. Appealing.....not. 

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