Qantas, Virgin Australia cut inflight meals and drinks

If you're among the few who are still flying, you'd better make BYO your new meal strategy.

By David Flynn, April 3 2020
Qantas, Virgin Australia cut inflight meals and drinks

Qantas and Virgin Australia are suspending inflight meals and drinks, driven by both health concerns stemming from the coronavirus as well as diminished demand for travel, with both airlines now operating a vastly reduced schedule of domestic flights.

Qantas has scaled back its inflight catering "until further notice" to a complimentary bottle of water and a snack, a spokesman confirmed to Executive Traveller.

This applies to all flights and at all times, even when the flight schedule would usually qualify for a proper breakfast, lunch or dinner.

"As part of our response to the evolving Coronavirus situation, we’re making some temporary changes to our inflight service," the airline notes. "We will no longer be serving meals on domestic or regional flights. Our crew will continue to offer a complimentary bottle of water and a snack on these services."

With airport lounges now shuttered, passengers are advised to 'grab and go' from an airport cafe.

Virgin Australia's catering cuts will mean only a complimentary snack and bottle of water in economy class as part of "a more simplified onboard offer", although the option to purchase food and drink from the 'buy on board' retail menu remains.

Business class passengers will continue to enjoy the standard Luke Mangan meal service, although they're no longer able to dip into the retail menu for free add-ons.

Read more: Virgin Australia clamps down on complimentary business class snacks

David

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 95

A joke to be honest. Handing you a unopened can of coke is no different to them handing you a unopened bottle of water. Just be honest and say it's for cost cutting not hide under the Covid 19 card QF/VA.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Feb 2015

Total posts 103

Bit ridiculous that you can purchase a product, but cant be given one for free! What's the difference....

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 289

virgin for the most part depending on the airport you can get something from a fast food outlet and either eat it before getting on the plane or eat it on the plane.i did that not so long ago on a 9am flight adelaide to sydney buying a tuna footlong sub with salad and sauce plus a diet soda and didn't require a meal for an entire day till dinner that night.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Aug 2017

Total posts 1

Just like flying on a domestic flight in the US. Any bets on whether full service will ever return on Australian domestic routes ?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 191

Food service is totally unnecessary on SYD-MEL or SYD-BNE. Drinks (bubbles, mixed, etc.) on the other hand, vital to the service.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1189

LOL if you say so.

22 Jul 2014

Total posts 15

Every-time I flew on Virgin Australia within OZ, they only gave me once piece of biscuit and cuppa of coffee.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 236

cuppa coffee is the replacement of cup of coffee.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Sep 2018

Total posts 130

All of the other people yapping on about these changes being the next apocalypse can be safely ignored. What is happening here is limiting the contact between flight attendants and passengers. All of these snacks and drinks will be packaged, so will Virgin's buy on board menu. When passengers are done, they can throw the trash into a bag which flight attendants hold WITH GLOVES. This eliminates the need to deal with dirty trays, cutlery, cups, exchange of napkins, any contact between two parties. Now, I won't deny the added benefit of cutting costs but having catered hot or cold meals is just another step that could be prevented right now. Plus, who is even travelling now to notice? I bet they are more paranoid of travelling right now than to care whether they get their quiche.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 191

I'd totally agree with you djtecj, but can't seem to find "All of the other people yapping on about these changes being the next apocalypse ..." on this thread/website.

But given the excellent range of F&B offered air-side within most airport terminals (i.e. food courts that rival Westfield, etc.) and airline lounges, I think the airlines might, perhaps, achieve better cost efficiencies dropping a food service (only) on shorter sector like ADL-MEL, MEL-SYD and SYD-BNE, keeping the trolley only as a drinks cart. Longer haul flights (SYD-ADL, MEL-BNE, ADL-PER, etc.) should keep the full F&B service.

What say ye?

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 289

i reckon a buy on board menu with a paywave using a debit or credit card system should be introduced and a decent spread of food.i do cooking classes at my work and can come up with ideas for a meal similar to those sold in the supermarket that can be sourced commercially and sold to the public for a decent price.to use an idea hot meals can be $9 and then you work on a system of either 375ml can soft drinks $2.40 or 600 ml bottles soft drinks $3.90 water and coffee/tea of all kinds remains free.for anything else like sandwiches and wraps $6.00.i am basing this on my workplaces canteen prices.


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