Qantas expands economy meal times, launches new headsets

By David Flynn, February 16 2015
Qantas expands economy meal times, launches new headsets

With its impressive new A330 Business Suites plus champagne and amenity kits in trans-Tasman business class, it might seem like passengers at the pointy end are getting all the love from Qantas.

But the Flying Kangaroo is also working to raise the bar in economy, with changes to meal times and inflight entertainment being rolled out from this week.

On short and medium-range domestic flights, breakfast will be served for an extra half hour on flights departing through to 8.59am for travellers who didn't grab something at the airport or the lounge.

Lunch will be extended by one hour to cover flights departing from 11am rather than noon, with dinner being served on flights departing from 5pm instead of 6pm.

The expanded meal times follows Qantas' move in September last year to more generous servings, improved quality and a wider range of dishes, along with more frequent menu rotation.

This includes a choice between a hot meal and a “substantial salad” for dinner on short-range and medium-range flights, with meals being served in dinner boxes rather than a tray.

Read: Qantas upgrades economy meals: bigger serves, boxed dinner packs

"The majority of our 22 million passengers fly in economy and it’s absolutely crucial that we continue to invest in every aspect of their journey" says Phil Capps, Head of Customer Strategy.

"That's why we will continue to invest in our food and beverage offering, introduce innovative entertainment options and enhance the experience on the ground, no matter in which cabin you fly."

Speaking of entertainment, there are also new economy headsets on the way with flexible silicone earpads replacing the older foam pads.

Qantas claims the switch will improve "both the volume and comfort of the headset", with the silicone earpad moulding to provide a better around your ear to help block out more ambient noise.

On some domestic Airbus A330 jets where the economy cabin lacks video seatback screens, each passenger will be supplied with an Apple iPad Mini so that inflight movies, TV shows and music can be beamed over WiFi to the tablets via the airline's Q Streaming technology.

Read: Qantas economy passengers get iPad Minis for inflight video

Also read: Qantas to enforce 'smart casual' dress code at lounges

Qantas will clamp down on poorly-dressed passengers from April 1 under "minimum smart casual dress guidelines" at Qantas Club and Qantas Business Lounges at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Adelaide airports. Read more...

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

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.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

Definitely raising the bar. I've lost track of the announcements this year! All modest in their own right, collectively a sign of a reinvented airline.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2011

Total posts 24

Domestic Economy meals have improved markedly in the past year.  Almost a pleasure to eat now. 

Mal
Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

Actual 'enhancements'! Well done Qantas, nice to see you on the front foot once again. I'm sure there will be some commenters bleating about something else, but some people are bever satisfied without a whinge.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 505

I'll whinge, it's taken them this long to serve meals at realistic times. They maybe raising the bar but it is also common sense.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

you can always avail yourself of VAs  food/beverage services...and their complimentary'meal'/drinks windows/offerings....ALL are more restrictive/limited..you cant even get a FREE soft drink

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

....VA have been a 'premium' airline for over 3yrs now (i refuse to use the term 'new world carrier'!!)....but their Y/C product/service is still very LCC

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

hence that term "new world carrier"

I would rather no food than the shitty slice of cake or 3 cracker job they serve. It's token at very best. Break out the cost and allow passengers to buy a better meal should they see fit, which is what they've done since their inception, instead of a cheap, longlife snack shoved in purely for the purpose of marketing!

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 505

Both airlines have there positives and negatives, as long as the customer wins. 3 weeks ago I had a 11 hour Qantas flight in business class 2 and a half hours after take off at around 11 pm I got my meal. Food was good but I was starving.

 

04 Dec 2013

Total posts 142

Agree.  It can take far too long to get something to eat after takeoff.  For night flights, you want to eat straight away and then sleep...

Velocity Frequent Flyer

02 Mar 2013

Total posts 4

VA are gonna have to really lift their game especially in the Domestic Economy on short haul if they want me to fly with them again.  Ive flown on Virgin Australia - theyre a good airline but Ive booked 2 flights form Brisbane to Sydney this year on Qantas because on both occasions I was able to get on them cheaper.  Qantas currently offer a better cabin service than VA and they provide the headsets and everything for entertainment which VA dont currently do.  If VA want me to fly them again, they either need to make sure theyre fares are either cheaper or they offer the same product to match Qantas if theyre gonna charge the same.  When Virgins fares were cheaper I didnt have an issue with the fact that they didnt serve meals....and Im not talking about when they were a low cost carrier....as its been 5 years now since they become a premium airline and theyre now calling themselves a full service airline. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2014

Total posts 11

Have any photos of the new headsets been released?

02 Jan 2013

Total posts 142

With all these announcements over the months, I am really confused what QF are offering all together. Some planes have been refurbished, some haven't, some are allocated to a specific route at a specific time/or date. Some only fly on specific routes every second day during the winter, every other day during the summer. Meal times have been extended (as per the article) but only on certain routes. I could go on but I hope an pray QF someday will offer a more streamlined service!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 194

Good move re meals, as I guess the majority of Y passengers do not have lounge access.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

Probably not the case with Qantas... I'd go out on a limb and say they have the highest portion of gold / platinum passengers onboard at any one time.

Still a solid move though.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 194

Would doubt that. The vast majority would be Bronze, if members at all, with some Silver; neither an entree to the Lounge.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

I may not have worded the above very well. Not suggesting the majority of passengers are gold or platinum, but in comparison to other Australian domestic carriers, a typical Qantas flight would have a higher portion of Gold and Platinum passengers.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1235

What time does dinner service end and "refreshment" service begin?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

I'd be inclined to think the 20:59 or so cutoff hasn't changed.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

short/medium flights dinner services end 2001hrs (8:01pm)... so flights scheduled between 1700hrs (5pm)-2000hrs (8pm) are dinner flights..and 2001 (8:01pm)  to first flight of next day are refreshment flights

18 Jul 2013

Total posts 25

This explains why the crew were handing out breakfast boxes this morning  on the 8.55am BNE to SYD flight, but the CSM announced it would be morning tea.  No doubt it will take a little while for everyone to adjust to the expanded times.

28 Nov 2012

Total posts 92

Looks like QANTAS are serious about getting back up higher in the top ten Skytrax awards, now some 787-9's to really ramp it up

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Feb 2015

Total posts 2

Reading some of your subscribers post and it really makes me want to puke and laugh at the same time,I live on the metal tube and I can tell you Qantas IFE,and meal quality,OTA and Departures are almost second to none, it is leapes and bounds above most carriers today,I often hear the Ozi traveller moan and groan about their national carrier even when it's Weather related and often wonder if they have left their shores and experienced other well known carriers ,Qantas is always reinventing itself and should be applauded not slapped ,Try BA,UNITED,and then let's hear your petty complaints. 

19 Jun 2014

Total posts 32

Australia is situated near Asia. There are plenty of good Asian airlines to choose from like JAL, Thai, Cathay, Singapore etc... Therefore, Qantas needs to ensure their service is similar to these airlines. It seems a bit odd to compare Qantas with some other bad airline services. 

 

Velocity Frequent Flyer

02 Mar 2013

Total posts 4

At least on Qantas you get a complimentary meal in economy class at meal times and you can get a free soft drink. Not only has Qantas improved on the servings of food although the last time I flew Qantas was in 2012, but their fares are a lot more competitive now in relation to Virgin Australia.  On Virgin Australia, the only way you can get entertainment is if you download an app on your phone or tablet which chews up battery power.  But I can tell you, Ive flown on Delta Airlines in the USA and they dont give complimentary meals on flights not even a 5 hour flight from LA to Orlando or Atlanta to LA.  All they give you is a packet of pretzels and a drink or a cookie and drink and if you want anything substantial you have to pay for it like you do on a low cost airline.  I have also heard that airlines such as United and American Airlines are just as bad.....even Air New Zealand is.  Virgin Australia is not a bad airline....but there is a need for improvement especially on the domestic short haul sectors especially now that they are charging as much as Qantas, if not more.  Ive flown Virgin Australia for the past 4 years between Brisbane and Sydney and theres nothing wrong with them, but this year Im flying on Qantas because I was able to get on them cheaper than Virgin for the times I wanted, but if Virgin want me to fly with them again, theyre either gonna have to be cheaper than Qantas, or if theyre gonna charge the same as Qantas, theyre gonna have to have the product to match.  Virgin Australias International Service on the other hand is excellent.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Feb 2015

Total posts 2

Reading some of your subscribers post and it really makes me want to puke and laugh at the same time,I live on the metal tube and I can tell you Qantas IFE,and meal quality,OTA and Departures are almost second to none, it is leapes and bounds above most carriers today,I often hear the Ozi traveller moan and groan about their national carrier even when it's Weather related and often wonder if they have left their shores and experienced other well known carriers ,Qantas is always reinventing itself and should be applauded not slapped ,Try BA,UNITED,and then let's hear your petty complaints. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Feb 2014

Total posts 6

What has your post got to do with the new meal options, which frankly, are a great idea for both passengers and the FA's to clean up?  Just because a few upgraded toffs are shirty when their FA didnt greet them by their full, elongated birth name, doesnt represent the rest of the loyal customers that admire and have supported Qantas. I work in the aviation ( air traffic control actually ) industry and i think most reasonable Australian flyers are rather understanding about delays due to weather/engineering delays... and you know what? I have found that people get most upset when they are NOT informed by the airline of the nature of the delay and are expected to rush around on their own to find a solution, or left stranded , usually at a hefty cost. Jetstar loves this tactic with its passengers. Read Skytrax for Qantas and i think you will find that there are alot of happy customers... apart from that Platinum One guy that gets upset because his card wasnt personally licked by a FA upon his magnificent entry into the FIRST cabin... so just chill, you will never have to lick my QFF card... i promise. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Expanding meal times is good, but ultimately it's all down to the quality of what's being served (if it's crap, getting it more often ain't a great benefit). Therefore Qantas making improvements to it's domestic catering of late is more important to me (especially for J), although I appreciate the other changes. It's recovering lost ground, because quality did dip in the last couple of years past. I hope Qantas continues to build on these moves.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

The breakfast boxes in Y are pretty good for what they are. I'm keen to get a dinner box to try as well.

19 Feb 2015

Total posts 1

Any improvement on service offerings is a win as far as I'm concerned. Well done QF.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Mar 2013

Total posts 13

Great stuff, but on the other hand, have we all forgotten the furore over the 'boxes' handed out in economy in the mid 200's? They were abysmal, and not even worth the effort. You had an airline who had the monopoly back then, with little competition (I.e. Virgin Blue a fully fledged lcc) and services were reduced.

Competition does wonders, so let's just hope these 'boxes' are a far cry from the last time they used the,.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Mar 2013

Total posts 13

Sorry, make that the 'mid 2000's'

Velocity Frequent Flyer

02 Mar 2013

Total posts 4

Unfortunately VA's offering are no better than Qantas at the moment.  Especially in short haul domestic such as BNE-SYD.  All they give you is a snack and theyre now charging as much as Qantas.  Ive flown VA since they moved away from the LCC model as Im not a fan of LCCs because most of those airlines customer service is very bad when it comes to delays.  Jetstar specifically as one of my friends flew Jetstar and she swears and declares she will never fly them again.  Tiger are just as bad as Ive seen heaps of stories about them.  Anyway with regards to Virgin theyre not a bad airline but if they are going to charge as much as Qantas I would want them to have the product to match.  Each time Ive flown on Virgin their fares have been reasonably cheaper than Qantas so it didnt bother me that they didnt offer meals on the flight, but this year Im flying Qantas because I was able to get on them cheaper than Virgin Australia.  So its important for VA to improve their catering if theyre gonna charge as much as Qantas. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Mar 2015

Total posts 9

I see the insult box has made a reappearance. 

21 Mar 2015

Total posts 1

Am I the only one who hates the QANTAS online booking process with a passion ?? Personally I have no idea why anyone would want food served to them on domestic flights and like some other commentators wonder why the wait is so long on evening international flights when all that is really wanted is to sleep but I ldo ove to support QANTAS at every opportunity. For me the issue is the purchase of the ticket and I have on many occassions booked with competitors because the website is freezing and slow and I dislike the antiquated format anyhow. Maybe they should concentrate on getting people onto the plane first.

10 Apr 2015

Total posts 1

Whilst the product and offer is good and generous the attitude and execution of it needs lifting.

I once travelled Qantas on economy to the USA (16 hrs?) with no audio, video and lights. My query got no joy.  My complaint go me compensated with a pass to the Qantas lounge still unuse.

And how about a half full Business Class 4 passengers with hot meals and 2 offred cereals? Compensated $200.00 on next travel still unuse.

Good product but service?


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