How to order your meal in advance on Qantas international flights

By Chris C., December 20 2017
How to order your meal in advance on Qantas international flights

Qantas passengers jetting abroad can pre-select their preferred inflight meal via the Qantas website, guaranteeing not just their first meal choice, but also unlocking extra dining options that don’t normally appear on the standard inflight menu.

Available to business class, premium economy and economy passengers, Australian Business Traveller first put the service to the test in 2015, and back then, it wasn’t a conspicuous success – with orders placed online not making their way to the cabin crew trolley.

However, with Qantas having had years to fine-tune the service, we used the service again on a recent return journey between Melbourne and Los Angeles: here’s how we found the process, and how you can do the same to lock-in your own meal when flying overseas with Qantas.

Selecting your inflight meal via the Qantas website

Within seven days of your flight up until 12 hours before departure, call up your booking on the Qantas website via ‘manage my booking’, or via the Qantas app, and scroll down until you see "select your inflight meal":

Click the icon, and you’ll be asked to confirm which flight you’re ordering for:

As you’d expect, the default option is that you’ll choose your meal on board – so click “I’ll select my meal now” to get started and see your options.

You can also choose to have no meal, which prompts the crew to make your bed after take-off (if flying business class) and avoid disturbing you at chow time, but of course, we’re opting to dine:

Along with being able to pre-select your preferred main course from the standard inflight menu, there’s usually an extra option or two available exclusively for those who pre-order online.

On our premium economy flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles, the online exclusive dish was a lamb kofta sandwich with baba ghanoush, harissa mayonnaise and pickles, which we selected.

Then, it’s as easy as confirming your choice…

… and your order is sent to the kitchen, so to speak. If other flights on your booking are also eligible for meal pre-selection, you can continue entering your preferences by selecting your next flight in much the same way:

For our business class flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne, there were more dishes available to choose from including another online exclusive: fusilli spaccati with duck ragu and roast celeriac:

(The cheese plate was also marked as an 'online exclusive', but this was incorrect, as it was available via the normal, printed menu inflight, as were the rest of the dishes.)

Given the flight’s near-midnight departure, we opted for a light option in the grilled chicken breast from the standard menu, and locked this in:

Made a mistake, or want to change your preference from ‘meal’ to ‘no meal’? You’ll find those options on the same screen above.

You can also double-check that your choice is locked-in for the appropriate flight by returning to the main ‘manage my booking’ page, expanding the tab containing your flight, and looking for the green ‘meal selected’ tick below your travel class and above your aircraft type, where the option to change your selection is again available.

Enjoying your pre-ordered meal inflight

In the air, you'll still receive a printed inflight menu as usual, because your entrée, dessert and any beverages are still ordered in the usual way, along with the entirety of your second meal on long flights such as between Australia and Los Angeles, which is most commonly breakfast.

Our late lunch ‘slash’ early dinner from Melbourne to LA arrived as expected…

… as did our supper on the return flight to Melbourne:

Overall, Qantas’ meal pre-selection service worked as expected – and by taking advantage of this yourself, you’ll always get your first meal choice.

We also like that there's usually at least one extra dish available exclusively for those who pre-order online, giving frequent travellers something different to choose from beyond the normal inflight offerings, and fussy eaters some extra options!

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Los Angeles as a guest of Qantas.

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

05 May 2016

Total posts 631

Nice option to have but I personally prefer to order my meal onboard.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2551

That's interesting, mviy – may I ask why that is?

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 263

I’m the same - choose when in the air. Reasons for me are that I regularly don’t know what I will feel like in the air and typically the extra option isn’t a standout relative to the standard options. If it were way better then I might select it (I always check) but rarely is that the case.


03 May 2013

Total posts 667

Chris could you please QF/Neil Perry how they get away with torn pieces of mesculin and lettuce and serve that up as a salad in J and F? Does Neil Perry have no pride?

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2476

Hi Joe, if you have feedback to share with Qantas, then we suggest you share that feedback yourself via the appropriate channels.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Feb 2016

Total posts 25

I prefer ordering in advance then I usually get what I like to eat. When I hop on board I get settled and start the movie marathon. Meal comes to my seat. Happy traveller.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1425

I prefer the advance option because you get served earlier, and the choice is (slightly) better. If you have an upgrade though that needs to advised well in advance which is usually not the case - beggars can't be choosers.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 685

I had friends (a married couple) travelling in Economy to the USA a few days ago and helped them check-in online.

They're not frequent travellers and I pointed out the ability to pre-order. However, there was no inflight 'special' meal available - and I have recently heard reports of this from others. Out of interest, it would be great if you could determine from QF if the 'optional' special meal is still permanently available for Economy travellers or not.

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