Qantas says it has no plans to charge for meals, drinks and baggage

By David Flynn, May 25 2018
Qantas says it has no plans to charge for meals, drinks and baggage

Qantas says it won't introduce a no-frills 'Economy Basic' fare which would see passengers pay extra for meals and drinks, checked luggage and even inflight movies.

The airline floated the scheme in a survey sent earlier this week to members of its invitation-only Qantas Advisory Panel, calling out "Qantas flights between Australia and New Zealand" for the proposed "pay as you use" model.

Read more: Qantas is looking at 'buy on board' for meals, inflight movies

However, following the proposal being revealed on Australian Business Traveller and subsequently picked up by newspapers, radio and TV outlets, Qantas moved quickly to deny it would go down the contentious 'buy on board' route.

“We often ask questions to get a sense of what the market thinks but that doesn’t mean we intend to do something,” a spokesman for the airline said. “Specifically on this question, we have no intention on unbundling our fares."

(Interestingly, this was more definite on ruling out the concept when compared to the airline's original statement to Australian Business Traveller, which merely said "we have no plans to introduce this at this stage.")

"Given we’re in the middle of rolling out free Wi-Fi, we are clearly committed to being a full service airline," the spokesman added.

Australian Business Traveller understands the same question has been repeatedly put to the Qantas Advisory Panel in recent years, but judging from Qantas' comments – influenced no doubt by strong protests against the notion of a stripped back 'seat-only' fare – this may now be off the table for good.


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.

Good. Should never have been on the table. Some airlines have this option because they don't have a budget carrier like Jetstar. Qantas already has this option with Jetstar. If I wanted buy on board I would naturally gravitate to Jetstar. Enough said.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 362

Good to see public preassure has caused an immediate and definitive back down

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Oct 2016

Total posts 40

They were never planning it in the first place though...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2017

Total posts 2

I have no issue with a company engaging with it's customer base to acertain what the customer really wants.

9 times out of 10 the service provider already knows the answer but it is good practice to check!
People read too much into things.

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 184

I wonder if Qantas was asking the wrong question. The panel is made of up frequent flyers who like all-inclusive fares but what if Qantas had positioned this not as 'pay as you use' but a lower-priced 'basic economy fare'? If they had given examples of how much cheaper that fare would be compared to a regular full service fare and maybe suggested the price for meals and bags this could have had a very different outcome. After all, frequent flyers with lounge access can eat their meal before that short flight to NZ and many are adept at efficient packing and would be carry-on only, especially business travellers, so promoting this as a significantly cheaper economy fare could have been more appealing than talking about paying for meals etc.

I agree with you. But those business travellers eating in the lounge would probably be flying business class already anyway.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

13 Mar 2015

Total posts 79

Well...they have Jet Star for that option.


21 Jul 2011

Total posts 73

Those pax fly Jetstar and Tiger. Enough said.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 325

Smart move Qantas and thanks AUSBT for helping to apply the common sense blow torch!!

Can AusBT apply some pressure on the delays of posting of FF points in QF after flying JQ ? It takes over a month, and they keep making excuses - Qantas blaming Jetstar, Jetstar blaming Qantas - no one wants to own this issue.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2013

Total posts 32

Yes, I have found that too - even the website missing points claim feature does not help..

04 May 2018

Total posts 30

Yep still waiting 8 weeks for 3 JQ flights. QF just say not our problem it is a JQ issue.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 363

I agree. This is why Qantas/Jetstar works so well and has been so successful. It’s incredibly clear which each one offers and passengers choose which one suits them. Airlines around the world envy this strategy - many have tried, many have failed.

Qantas is premium, Jetstar is low cost. No inconsistency in their products - they both offer great products in their own markets and passengers always know what to expect.

Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Good to see Qantas won’t be changing

I agree exactly. Why they even consider it is a funny thing


04 Feb 2013

Total posts 7

Great news.

I also agree with Poolprouk, above, that it sounds like Qantas regularly checks its customers’ views on a range of ideas that are out there in the marketplace - including whether to follow BA, NZ and the US3 on unbundling. It can be just as useful for Qantas to confirm that its customers don’t want this, and to refocus on providing a premium product.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2017

Total posts 87

They must have read the previous thread

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 714

Well they backflipped quickly...

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 184

Not a 'backflip' as Qantas never said it was definitely going to launch Economy Basic and BoB, more a 'backdown' from considering the idea to totally ruling it out.

12 Feb 2015

Total posts 89

Media beat up. Qantas could equally be testing market reaction to unbundled services to test their full service marketing strategy against the likes of Air New Zealand.

16 Dec 2016

Total posts 48

No - AusBT backflipped quickly. It was never on the table by my reading. It was just good click bait for this site.


SilkAir - KrisFlyer

28 Mar 2017

Total posts 16

Qantas clearly has read my responses to the panel survey!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Aug 2014

Total posts 76

QF food is poor anyway in economy, I give I miss every time.

09 Jan 2016

Total posts 44

Poor, it’s terrible! I’d happily pay to get something better than the slop they serve up in economy!

24 Apr 2018

Total posts 14

Ha. Are you new here? I haven't flown QF enough to have a view on the food but they them charging for it won't improve it.

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 112

often the solution to getting something better meal wise on flights that qualify for such a thing is to be something you usually are not like a vegetarian,lactose intolerant or even jewish.sometimes such things and excuses if you order say a kosher meal well in advance get you something tastier.


21 Jul 2011

Total posts 73

It’s not just the food, the the entire paradigm shift that this would entail. Fly Y in the US or Europe on legacy carriers and this is EXACTLY where this would take us all. Yes the food can be average, but it’s all about an cultural attitude in my mind.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Jan 2013

Total posts 12

This would have been a nightmare. Crew working out who had included it and who had not, then being slowed down by collecting payment.

24 Apr 2018

Total posts 14

Had the option of prepurchasing food for JQ4 earlier this year. Collecting payment does slow down the process but they didn't seem to spend any time (in the aisle, anyway) figuring out who had prepaid.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Jan 2013

Total posts 12

That’s the point - you expect it on a LCC like Jetstar. An with respect, you are using a 10 hour flight as an example vs capital city hops, the majority 90 mins.

24 Apr 2018

Total posts 14

I'm not "comparing" anything, just adding to the discussion, principally that my experience was that collecting payment does slow things down, but that figuring who has paid and for what didn't seem to be an issue.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

19 Jul 2014

Total posts 25

I'm sure it would be handled as 'An enhancement to better serve our Customers'

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Dec 2017

Total posts 19

Nice that it is off the table :)

27 May 2017

Total posts 22

Thank Gosh

06 Jun 2017

Total posts 23

Qantas would do it if they thought they could get away with it. They just "tested the water", and the negative feedback was too much, otherwise why put it out there?

I like the decision, but here's hoping passenger vote by booking basic economy on other carriers

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Nov 2016

Total posts 134

Alas some common sense from Qantas. As many have rightfully said you have Jetstar to offer an alternative for those who want it. Let's hope Qantas management get back on track with some basic thinking.

15 Feb 2018

Total posts 46

This idea was simply a case of bean counters looking at how they could cut costs and charge people for services to make money. All businesses do it from time to time. If they wanted a real cross section of comments, they should have asked all their silver and above frequent flyers, not just a select few. Fortunately, common sense prevailed.

Famous. Last. Words.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2017

Total posts 150

Thank goodness. Some questions do not need to be asked.

05 Aug 2017

Total posts 15

Note that qantas charges for alcoholic beverages on some routes. Flew SYD-CNS a few weeks ago and a small bottle of wine was like $7 or so. I asked the stewardess why they charge. She told me on “holiday routes” they always do. Don’t understand this policy...

Btw I’d be happy to NOT having to pay for the food they currently serve, which is totally disgusting and a waste of money & resources. Qantas needs to improve their catering and offer healthy, contemporary options as a premium airline.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 May 2018

Total posts 34

No Johnny9.. Alcohol on Qantas in Economy is free on flights scheduled to depart after 4pm.. and has been for many years. Othertimes it's $6 for a beer or wine.

Free of course in business.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Jan 2013

Total posts 12

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Nov 2017

Total posts 3

Show me the bottle!

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