Qantas rules out introducing 'buy on board' meals, drinks

The airline says all passengers will continue to be served a free snack, meal or drink.

By David Flynn, November 17 2020
Qantas rules out introducing 'buy on board' meals, drinks

Qantas says it has “absolutely no plans to introduce buy on board” meals in economy class in place of free snacks, meals and drinks.

Speaking ahead of the relaunch of rival Virgin Australia as a mid-market ‘value oriented’ carrier, under the ownership of private equity firm Bain Capital,  Qantas Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully says that now more than ever it’s important to remain a full service airline.

“We have absolutely no plans to introduce buy on board,” Tully tells Executive Traveller.

“It’s critically important for our customers across leisure, corporate and small business that we're a premium, full service airline.”

“Our customers are very clear with us about what sort of offering they want at different times of the day, she says. “Even on the shortest routes we plan to give customers a complimentary offering.”

Tully's comments follow speculation that Qantas might seek opportunities to reduce service standards once its long-standing rival abandons the full-service model which it adopted as part of the change from Virgin Blue to Virgin Australia.

“It's quite the opposite, I think it's an opportunity for us to shine, to deliver what our customers want and remind them why we're a full service airline,” Tully tells Executive Traveller

“WiFi is a great example of this – we'll keep offering free, fast WiFi.”

“We’ve actually seen incredible usage of that over the last couple of months, real exponential growth” Tully elaborates, “because I think customers have gotten more used to streaming services during lockdown.”

“So we have no intention of changing those core parts of the Qantas service proposition.”

Also read: Qantas to reopen most airport lounges on December 2


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

KW72 Banned
KW72 Banned

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 242

“We’ve actually seen incredible usage of that over the last couple of months, real exponential growth”

Given the airline basically ceased operating in April and had wifi switched off for a few months, of course there will be exponential growth in the usage of wifi in the last couple of months. What a stupid statement. 

Olympic Air - Travelair

16 Oct 2017

Total posts 6

Wonder if they’ll use the “exponential growth” in wifi usage to justify a reduction (read “enhancement”) in IFE content once/if that comes back online for domestic flights. 

Maybe they’ll suggest people stream their own content to their own device via inflight wifi; or partner with Stan for joining discounts, as they have previously.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Nov 2012

Total posts 112

I think that very few travellers these days fly without a device capable of streaming.  I actually do this this would be an enhancement. Besides, most domestic Y screens are awful anyway. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1248

I for one vastly prefer having an inseat IFE rather than BYO device.

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 102

“Now more than ever it’s important to remain a full service airline “ ! ....This seems contrary to the recent decision to close the service desks in the lounges .

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 474

Who on earth (with any credibility) suggested Qantas might start offering buy-on-board?? I can't see that happening - ever.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

20 Jul 2019

Total posts 3

I wouldn't, but with all due respect, this year has been a year where things no-one would see happening, happen.

28 Mar 2018

Total posts 25

For years I’ve had to purchase my wine or beer when flying Qantas domestic economy. They are already offering elements of buy on board. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 May 2019

Total posts 31

Don’t they have buy on board at the moment? The claim that they don’t and are a full service airline seems wrong to me. I used to fly almost all significant domestic routes out of Sydney on a regular basis and found their alcohol policy incredibly confusing. I’d never know when I would be charged for an alcoholic beverage - especially on the SYD-CBR pairing. 

I remember asking about it after they tried to charge me for a little bottle of red on a weekend and the answer was positively Byzantine. “Mr X, alcohol is free on afternoon and evening flights except on Saturdays between 3.22 pm and 9.44 pm, after the third full moon of the year on Flights from Adelaide, when you fly on a wholly owned subsidiary after the solstice and generally at any time you don’t have exact change in your wallet but do have a desire to drink”. 

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 457

one thing and this dates back to when the domestic division was taa/australian was not only the free meals/drinks but practically every flight always had inflight audio(the opposition were only offering that on the 727lr/767 services in the 80's/90's)whether you got a 727 or 737 or a300 in the past or in the present time 737,767 and a330 plus the odd domestic 747 of some type.

KW72 Banned
KW72 Banned

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 242

If they will keep charging for beer and wine can they at least stop with the cash only nonsense? It is 2020 not 1920. 

09 Apr 2020

Total posts 11

Maybe not "buy on board", but "buy in advance", why would QF spend some much on digital retailing capabilities if they aren't going to use them?

19 Jun 2020

Total posts 28

to me inflight food offerings on relatively short domestic flights are not too relevant. Would rather see it in the price, I can always pick something up before the flight in the lounge or on the food and beverage outlets and lets be honest, most airline food is average at best except in long hall business and above.

Although looking at pricing this week the qantas flights were only marginally higher than the virgin flights and qantas does come with food and a lounge so one might argue the Qantas pricing in balance was better than Virgin.

When the agreed Virgin offer comes on line with nothing but water, coffee, tea for say $200 (Discount) then if Qantas were to have the corresponding flight (Rede) at say $210 then people may start questioning the Virgin offer  - If I was Qantas I would price just above Virgin and advertise the extras and make it very hard for them.

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