Virgin Australia trials toasted sandwiches for economy meals

A welcome selection of fresh food will join Virgin’s economy ‘buy on board’ menu from next month.

By David Flynn, November 4 2021
Virgin Australia trials toasted sandwiches for economy meals

Virgin Australia is readying an upgrade of its economy class 'buy on board' service which will add fresh meals to a menu which to date as been limited to packaged snacks and instant noodles.

Across a series of medium-range and long-range domestic flights, the airline has been trialling items such as wraps and sandwiches – including toasted sandwiches made in the galley of the Boeing 737 and delivered in hot ready-to-savour state to the passenger.

And as most people – and certainly most frequent flyers – will attest, there's something about a toasted sandwich which just hits the spot.

Morning, noon, night or even at 3am, a good toastie is comfort food not just for the stomach but for the soul.

And from next month, toasties could be served on Virgin Australia flights.

"We know how much those toastie machines in our lounges got a workout with people creating their own sandwiches," reflects Sarah Adam, Virgin Australia's General Manager for Product & Customer Experience.

Adam and her team are now finalising the new 'buy on board' menu, which is expected to be launched next month on all Virgin Australia flights.

"We're just looking to make sure that we design our buy-on-board menu for short-haul and international flights that will be appropriate to the time of day and the length of the flight," she tells Executive Traveller.

"Over the last few months we’ve been testing new fresh menu items on medium- and longer-length flights and we've been getting great feedback from not only guests but crew on how well received those items have been."

The trial includes sandwiches, wraps and those toasted sandwiches whipped up in the galley, with Adam saying she anticipated the toasties – if they make the cut – "will be (offered) across the network."

Toasties could well become the hot item – quite literally – on triangle flights between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Still to come: Virgin’s new premium lounges

Adams is also working up the food and beverage offering for Virgin Australia's new elite lounges which will replace The Club lounges at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane when the airline relaunches its VIP flyer proposition in early 2022.

(The Club lounges at Canberra and Perth won't be coming back, with the airline saying it "couldn't make them viable.")

Having already rolled out a morish menu for its domestic lounges, with everything from avocado on toast to Japanese-style karaage chicken, Chinese dumplings, penne bolognese and mediterranean platters, it's expected these premium lounges will take that up to another level.

Read more: From smashed avo to scones, here is Virgin Australia’s new lounge menu 

"We are are very well advanced with our approach to what the new offering will be," Adam says, adding "I think you'll be very excited where we land."

As previously reported, Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka says "we will retire 'The Club' brand name for a new and fresh brand that reflects our future direction."

This new brand will encompass not only these premium lounges but the airline's highest-level "loyalty offering".

Executive Traveller understands that Virgin's revised plans for this elite Velocity tier will see "new and more transparent eligibility criteria" replace the often opaque guidelines of The Club in order for membership to be signed off by the CEO.

This could even extend into the public realm, moving beyond invitation-only status to become an attainable tier for Virgin's super-frequent flyers who spend more time in airport lounges than their own lounge rooms.

With access to Virgin's premium lounges and other practical perks, this new VIP tier would help level the field against Qantas' Platinum One for those Velocity frequent flyers who regularly earn the equivalent of Platinum status many times over.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 709

I wonder what all those people who joked and sprayed about the 2 minute noodles, the lack of  business class meals etc back when Covid first struck, what are they thinking now? 

12 Aug 2014

Total posts 13

Totally bowled over by toasted sandwiches I'm sure

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 527

Well . . . U2+W, before we're overcome with hubris, that will depend upon whether the VA2 Intelligentsia in Brisbane understands and remembers to use 'tasty' cheese instead of cheap cheddar cheese.  You may well laugh, cough or gasp - but I've got a lazy 'lobster' in my wallet that thinks my worst fears will be realised.  

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 378

anything would be good.I hope they can cater for people with special dietary requirements though.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 508

Reheated toasted sandwiches, rather than actually sandwiches toasted on board. Nothing like the fresh smell of toast in the cabin to get your mouth juices going and reminiscing that event of getting a stroke; reheating the toast doesn’t quite make it unless you do it QF style….. over cooking the ham and cheese toast! 

Nevertheless an advance on current selection on VA flights I’m sure but still less exciting than the old Virgin blue menu I think

And frankly Jetstar has been doing buy on board “toastie” ( but not gourmet) for some time.

Certainly hope no one is paid extra coming up with this idea; the issue is getting the right fill type/price mix.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 709

If anything the hints about the new Platinum 1 type lounges are worthy of finding out more about, time to get on the phone this morning and talk to those daily flyers to see what they now.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 527

Abso-blinking-lutely, Kemosahbee.  But I doubt VA2 has the resources/personnel to trawl or mine their Velocity data base and find those pax with whom they should be calling on the phone.  Still, they've now got all weekend to do it !!

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 709

Wink Wink Nudge Nudge check your messages

More good changes on the way it seems. Have to hand it to Virgin, while they are moving slower than most people would have liked and have still to make their decision known on WiFi, what they are announcing so far seems to hit the mark for that mid-market position instead of just doing what Qantas does.

03 May 2021

Total posts 32

I’m still a bit disappointed, and I am hoping that   More filling food items like hot food actually end up on the menu at some point, because as someone who is based in Perth, I don’t think a sandwich will be enough to fill me up on a 5 and a half hour flight from Brisbane, nice change but quite frankly still not enough.

Tav
Tav

20 Oct 2020

Total posts 11

Great option to have, happy with that. Although I do feel for the crew on a full SYD-MEL peak hour hop with 20 toastie orders to fulfill! Hopefully they’ve got their best people designing the toastie process.

21 Jul 2020

Total posts 15

Yes toastier so hot the spot, I used to love one in the Darwin lounge before flying home. Those were the days.

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

16 Oct 2017

Total posts 137

Nice try Virgin, but with the best will in the world on-board food is usually disappointing on domestic flights. I think that will apply to the toasties but I'll wait and see. I usually bring my own tucker on 2+ hours and eat on the ground otherwise. 


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