Qantas is boosting the business class breakfast on international flights, making good on the airline's promise in March this year (see our previous story below) to overhaul the oft-criticised 'cafe breakfast' based on feedback from travellers.
Beginning this week, 'new gourmet egg dishes' will appear on the breakfast menus in international business class.
Flights to Australia from Hong Kong and Bangkok into Australia will see softly set eggs with pancetta, mushrooms and slow roasted cherry tomatoes.
If you're flying in from Singapore or Tokyo's Narita airport the offer will be slow roasted tomatoes, English spinach and creamed eggs garnished with caramelised onion jam.
Those more substantial breakfasts sit alongside lighter pre-landing options such as an muesli, fruit, energiser drinks, juice, tea and coffee.
The revamped breakfast menu from Dubai, Los Angeles, Dallas/Fort Worth and Johannesburg include a choice of a full breakfast (such as scrambled eggs on toasted brioche with chorizo, tomato and chickpea ragout), the lighter continental breakfast or the time-saving express breakfast.
PREVIOUS | Qantas says it will improve the controversial ‘cafe breakfast’ served on international business class flights, based on feedback from travellers.
‘Controversial’? How can a breakfast be controversial?
Qantas may have pondered that mystery itself, but shifting from a full hot breakfast to a pared-back selection proved that even a morning meal can fire up passionate discussions at the pointy end of the plane.
The airline has taken plenty of flack for its cafe breakfast which typically consists of a bowl of muesli or other cereal, a fruit salad, yoghurt and a bakery item such as croissant or toasted sandwich.
Here's the breakfast selection from a recent Tokyo-Sydney flight.
The cafe breakfast menu is now being revised to "offer more substantial items" says Roger Barstow, one of Neil Perry’s Rockpool Group chefs working with Qantas on its international dining.
"We’re looking to put on a cooked egg dish of some description” Barstow tells Australian Business Traveller.
But he remains adamant that the dish needs to fit into the service philosophy of the cafe breakfast, which is to maximise a passenger’s sleep time – especially on already-short overnight flights from Singapore and Hong Kong.
“It still needs to be served easily, because what was taking time with the full breakfast was the whole setup and the noise it made if the passenger next to you wanted breakfast but you wanted to keep sleeping.”
Barstow says that in business class, breakfast "is something that should be delivered by the crew close to the point of landing."
“Obviously you’ve got a reasonably large cabin with quite a few passengers in there but from serving the first passenger to serving and clearing the last meal there’s obviously a reasonable amount of time there but realistically it needs to be from around one and a half hours to one hour before touchdown.”
Timing, and economics
Barstow explains the cafe breakfast also evolved in response to wastage from the older full breakfast service.
“We monitored these flights, how many passengers were taking breakfast and the amount of food wastage from breakfast at the end of the flight" he says.
Many passengers "were not even touching breakfast” Barstow maintains, while others were ordering breakfast but only picking at a few select items.
Advance meal ordering for economy
Barstow also confirmed that Qantas would introduce its ‘Select on Q’ pre-flight meal ordering to international economy class this year, allowing passengers to choose their inflight meals online before they even step on the plane.
The advance meal selection service was extended to premium economy late last year.
“It will be rolled out to economy sometime this year” Barstow told Australian Business Traveller. “There will be at least one dish on Select On Q which is not available (from the inflight menu).”
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