Qantas’ new menu features vegetarian dishes, plant-based meat

Since eating humble pie over its slipping performance standards, Qantas is rebooting is domestic economy menu.

By David Flynn, October 6 2022
Qantas’ new menu features vegetarian dishes, plant-based meat

After passengers gave Qantas a Gordon Ramsay-style shellacking over its domestic economy meals, the airline is serving up a new inflight menu spanning flights from breakfast to supper.

Qantas promises the menu “caters to several dietary requirements and includes a vegetarian option for all meals.”

“We have been progressively returning normal service levels and last month we fast tracked the return of vegetarian options on all flights,” says Qantas Executive Manager of Product and Service Phil Capps, who adds this the first menu overhaul “since on-board catering was simplified as a result of the pandemic.”

The vegie-friendly approach also extends to airport lounges, where Qantas is now trialling “plant-based meat dishes” such as a penne pasta bolognese with parmesan in the Sydney Business Lounge and “cocktail pies with tomato sauce” at the adjacent Qantas Club.

The plant-based penne pasta bolognese looks as good as the real thing, but how does it taste..?
The plant-based penne pasta bolognese looks as good as the real thing, but how does it taste..?

Qantas says travellers “will be invited to share their feedback to help shape future menus”, and we’ve no doubt plenty of feedback will be offered.

 Highlights of the new Qantas domestic economy menu include

  • ‘breakfast packs’ with yoghurt, banana, honey and macadamia bread and sliced apples 
  • ham and egg hollandaise ciabatta 
  • spinach and ricotta wrap 
  • roast chicken and chive on light rye sandwich 
  • zucchini and corn fritters 
  • bolognese calzone
  • chicken and potato mediterranean croquettes
  • zucchini and caramelised onion frittata
  • gluten free and plant based chocolate caramel slice 
  • pear and ginger cake

Domestic economy flights will rotate through six variations of the menu for breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper.

A Qantas spokesperson provided Executive Traveller with these flight timings for domestic meal and snack services:

  • morning: 5am to 8.59am
  • morning refreshment: 9am to 11.59am
  • lunch: noon to 1.29pm
  • afternoon refreshment: 1.30pm to 4.59pm
  • evening: 5pm to 9.59pm
  • supper: 10pm to 5.59am on longer flights, such as east-west

“We started work on the new menu several months ago and have put a lot of effort into creating variety, drawing on premium ingredients from a wide range of local producers,” says Capps.

Why do Vegans want to copy meat products, can someone please explain this to me. Just doesn’t make sense you either want a Big Mac or you want a Vegetable burger? 

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 870

It’s interesting to hear a Vegan say, it looks and taste like real meat.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2015

Total posts 7

I’m a vegetarian and happy with a veggie burger. I’d suggest the fake meat is for those carnivores or omnivores wishing to transition to vegetarianism like a nicotine patch for smokers wanting to quit.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jul 2018

Total posts 8

To be honest firstly not sure what harm it does either way nor why it should bother you , that said this topic is raised as a chestnut often ( I am not a vegetarian but have been married to one for thirty years ). In short by observation, it is split into two groups, people who have elected to go vegetarian through beliefs but would still like or miss the perceived taste or perception of meat and the second group people who are prepared to try plant-based products and are lured by ‘similarity in appearance good marketing brings . Oh, and there is a third a major group who are the majority of vegetarians and or vegans who do not crave the substitute products marketing rather would just like to be served a vegetarian or vegan product of quality in their in flight mean – preferable with choice . As a lifelong flyer my recent long haul has shown how much is changing the ‘special meal’ (which in itself is a strange name) volume of servings was 10-fold from say three years ago .

21 Feb 2020

Total posts 8

There is a third group. Those with food intolerances, especially gluten, lactose and egg. That group is not exercising a lifestyle choice, but a medical necessity.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

09 Aug 2016

Total posts 27

because for some vegetarians and vegans, it's not that they don't like the taste of of meat, it's about animal welfare and other ethical issues. 'fake' meat allows a similar taste to meat, without the perceived guilt attached.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 354

This is quite hilarious. I've been on plenty of Qantas dinner time and lunch time services this year and the best I've received is a stale muffin, a chocolate brownie or some crackers with dip. Qantas needs to stop insulting our intelligence by describing this as a 'Domestic Economy Menu', it's nothing more than pre-loaded, pre-packaged snacks most of time.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1175

It's not just Qantas but I really hate these snacks that are served in cardboard packages that are usually served at volcanic temperatures and are soft and sloppy making them hard to eat.  It's no wonder that Virgin report the most popular thing they sell is the simple cheese and crackers packs, always reliable and easy to eat.

I usually do breakfast in the lounge and only have a cup of tea on the plane, don't think that is going to change.  

I do miss the good old days on Ansett when Y breakfast was a packet of Corn Flakes, a muffin, water and piece of fruit. I know it won't come back, the modern economics of domestic travel just don't allow it.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 870

I'm a fan of VA with breakfast, Qantas watching the "cabin crew" stress serving the bacon and eggs seems a bit out dated and I can't see why you couldn't have corn flakes if you really wanted them. I know on eguy who lost his million plus points with Ansett 😀

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 354

My memory of Ansett Y class was a full hot breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages, tomato along with juice and coffee. And that was on a 50 minute flight between Launceston and Melbourne! Sad to see those days are long gone.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Sep 2018

Total posts 159

Agree with BSS. Especially impressed how they spinned Pasta Bolognese and Mini meat pies as plant based and innovative new lounge food. It's been on the menu for the past decade!!!

MHG
MHG

21 Apr 2017

Total posts 15

I hope these new times don't include longer flights that commence before midday. I'm about to find out as I have a 3hr flight leaving at 11.30am this Monday. I fully expect a meal instead of a snack, especially paying business class. As for the meals, no change to me as I am not alternate.

JJ1
JJ1

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2015

Total posts 18

Excellent dinner in economy from Sydney to Perth last week on Qantas. It was a port stir fry and was probably one of the best economy meals I have had both in taste and portion size. Well done Qantas

Lmc
Lmc

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Nov 2018

Total posts 99

Flew Cairns to Melbourne and only received a small cake snack for a 3+ hour flight!!! 

I had one of the best meals/snacks on a 50min Qantas Link Brisbane to Bundaberg flight, cheese, olives, crackers and salami… plus 2 beers! 

Qantas need consistency and to remember they are a full service carrier and certainly charge accordingly!

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 441

It's different.I have heard of Mock Meat aimed at Vegetarians as sold in Asian Grocery stores

08 May 2020

Total posts 45

Sounds promising, I hope it is more varied.  On my last journey from Europe, had my 4th breakfast of the day on the final Qantas Domestic leg and it was another dodgy egg omelette/scrambled/frittata thing ... my eyelid started twitching uncontrollably ;)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Mar 2015

Total posts 10

I want meat based meat. Vegetarians have the opportunity to request a vegetarian meal at the time of booking or at any time via manage my booking.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 73

Sounds like most of the comments here are pretty uniform in support of meat. Just you wait - soon QF will be making meat eaters request their meal via manage my booking.

18 Sep 2015

Total posts 126

What's the difference between vegetarian and plant-based?

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1175

A vegetarian diet does not eat meat.  Depending on the type of vegetarianism, they meet eat some animal products such as eggs and honey. 

A plant-based diet is largely based around grains, fruit and vegetables but may include some meat. 

Having said that, I think Qantas are using the terms synonymously in this case. 

21 Feb 2020

Total posts 8

Those of us with food intolerances were generally forgotten in the initial hoo ha. I’m very glad there may be an option ( or two) for us. 

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 655

Once you've flown the competition you get a real understanding of how lacking Qantas in-flight catering is. Shameful.

25 Feb 2015

Total posts 42

Do we know when this is supposed to be rolled out by? Today’s 8:45am MEL-ADL QF675 featured one fritter snack only. I was expecting a proper breakfast service as per the article timings.


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