Qantas upgrades business class breakfast

By David Flynn, June 2 2014
Qantas upgrades business class breakfast

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.

Both dishes are served with a toast ‘soldier’ for dipping.

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).”

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


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.

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 543

Wait, at least one dish on Select on Q that is not available inflight? What does that mean?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 364

What don't you understand? They're saying if there are two options offered on board, then Select on Q would offer a third that you can pre-select


13 Mar 2013

Total posts 8

Alvin, it means some selections are only available through internet preorder but not on the inflight menu. I understand your concern regarding the poor explanation :(


14 Jun 2013

Total posts 359

It means that Select on Q has one dish that is not available from the inflight menu. I think the chap interviewed could have said it better!

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2545

Mal and Alvin: yep, I've tweaked Roger's quote to make this a bit less of a puzzler.


14 Jun 2013

Total posts 359

Good idea, thanks David! I know you're not responsible for what people say in interviews but good to have it made a little more clear!

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 543

Thanks for the explanation, made it a lot clearer!


14 Jun 2013

Total posts 359

Good to see that Qantas is taking feedback onboard. I am not always big on a big inflight breakfast, prefer to have something light, but the cafe breakfast menu as it stands is a bit too light. But I hope they can do eggs right, it's not easy to get really good eggs served in a plane, at least not in business class it seems.


13 Mar 2013

Total posts 8

I am one of those making 'suggestions' regarding the current new format. I do travel often between SYD/NRT, SYD & MEL/HKG & I found that from 2014 the QF accounting department has put a hand in QF' menu. The size & selection are worse than before, forgetting about the quality. Feel sorry to Roger Barstow but I think he & his team has done a brilliant job within the budget. we as pax are still paying the same amount but getting a poorer final product.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2219

About time! I think it's high time to move towards the Right Compromise - a substantial fast breakfast.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2012

Total posts 15

It just plan penny pinching, the cost of J from Jakarta or Singapore to AUS east coast is a minimum $1.5K more expensive that others GA / SQ / EK or EY and those airlines can handle a full set breakfast, what’s the issue QF!

In addition, as one person who can’t stand sleeping on planes, why am I consistently being told “I need to get some rest” on QF, is that more penny pinching so I don’t drink some bar items and interrupt the FA’s…

I was an avid supporter of QF at one stage (Gold 5 years / Plat 2 years), however every time I fly with QF now I’m disappointed… or is I’m now just accustom to Asian and middle eastern hospitality and treatment of their customers.

That’s my soap box…

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 444

I don't know why this is such a difficult concept - 1 tray containing 1 drink, 1 pastry, 1 hot dish and 1 fruit/dessert thing. Prep it in the galley, serve it 45 minutes before landing, it takes 15 minutes to eat, then collect trays and begin descent. It's not difficult!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2219

"I mean, how hard can it be?" - Jeremy Clarkson

Set up an arrival lounge at SYD and MEL!

Serve a proper breakfast there if people are so inclined.


14 Jun 2013

Total posts 359

Now that is a good idea! I would very much like to see a Qantas Arrivals Lounge with a nice breakfast spread, similar to BA's Arrivals Lounge at Heathrow T5. Would also be popular with a few of the OneWorld partners, I'm sure.

Better still, an arrival lounge just after immigration.

Pax would head to the arrival lounge for a quick coffee and toast, while porters bring their luggage from the carousel to the lounge reception/holding area. Since their luggage is being held for them, they might even get a shower and sort out some emails etc.

When they are ready to exit the lounge they'll be processed by a dedicated customs personnel.

27 Sep 2011

Total posts 34

That sounds freaking amazing!

18 Jul 2013

Total posts 27

I know it sounds silly to most, but the reality is that my partner and I recently chose CX over QF for an overnight flight in J because of the 'controversial' cafe breakfast.  It wasn't the sole reason (the flat seat helped!) but it weighed into the decision.  I'm a QF Platinum FF but don't fly enough for the novelty to have worn off when it comes to overseas flights.  Nor do I always fly at the front.  So when I do, I enjoy all the fuss during meal service even if the chipolata sausages and scrambled eggs aren't all that exciting, and I don't mind missing an hours sleep to partake.  I'm really pleased QF are reconsidering.     

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 430

I haven't flown Qantas Business Class internationally so can't comment but a Cafe Breakfast has to go.Based on the descriptions above it's not much better than what most places provide on the ground.Give us something decent like some fruits,bread roll and ditch the cereal.Flown Singapore Airlines in Economy and from memory that is what they much better.At least You are not doing a Malaysia Airlines and giving the passengers a Giant Pie to start the day on.That's disgusting and reminds me too much of going to the football.

Malaysia Airlines - Enrich

12 Oct 2012

Total posts 19

I have pre-ordered the lobster for breakfast on Malaysian many times and its a great meal to start the day. Especially when the crew go the extra mile and add scrambled eggs. Granted, you need to be Enrich Platinum for the lobster, but there are tonnes of other dishes on their Chef On Call (COC) breakfast menu. COC is available on all of their Australia and NZ flights. Never seen them serve a pie for any breakfast sectors Franz!

Coincidentally, just returned on the QF overnight flight from HK in Business. Breakfast was truly terrible and insufficient. Plus crew seemed very disorganized serving such a simple meal. Had a family member flying in Premium Economy. When I checked behind the curtain (which by the way was left open the entire flight, with toilets shared), she was getting a full, hot breakfast served there. Yet it was only the cafe style available in Business Class. Just plain strange! Arrived in Sydney hungry and very underwhelmed.

Bottom line : if I pay for Business Class, I don't expect to arrive hungry, no matter what time of day I touch down! I am not paying J Class to minimze the airline's foot wastage and will fly any carrier that ensures the same. Qantas currently does not!!

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1110

Part of this stupidity in the menu flows from the decision to axe ham and bacon as part of the EK alliance.  I have no problem having pork products as an option that you have to request .  Surely most would expect the upcoming egg dish to be offered with bacon.  If you don't want bacon (or have opted for a Halal meal) you won't get it.  

This ridiculous pork ban is why even the current toasted sandwich which most would expect to be ham cheese and tomato is just cheese and tomato.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 122

Pretty sure the piggy ban is only on flights to/from DXB... This is not the case for flights to/from South East Asia where the cafe breakfast is served.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Mar 2014

Total posts 1

QF20 MNL to SYD on Fri 21-Mar had a Spinach and I think Feta Frittata.  maybe that is the new egg dish.  I passed and stuck with the fruit salad and yoghurt, but I dont think the guy next to me was happy with the noise. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 467

It is way past time to eliminate Neil Perry...and this crappy Rockpool catering, its tired,boring,and just is not good.Why QF have stuck with this guy is stupid and the other guy in the picture has no idea.Just like QF management


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2012

Total posts 122

I would agree, the Perry/Rockpool mantra is tired and long overdue for a change, time for something new please QF. It's too late now to be tinkering with the cafe menu the experience has already been cheapened.


Qantas P1

18 Jan 2012

Total posts 73

I feel that on those short Asia flights there probably isn't need for a proper breakfast on arrival.

Food on a plane, no matter what class, is still food on a plane. It's prepared a few days prior to eating so it's not the end of the world if you get a rock hard croissant and frozen butter as your breakfast.

When travelling in business, I value the rest/sleep more than the food. Yes, it's nice to be waited on hand and foot but I'd rather get an extra hours sleep than wake up to have some watery scrambled eggs on a 5 hour old tosted sourdough.

I understand that some people enjoy the novalty of J/F dining and that's why they need to have that option.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 529

I have to agree... I have found the cafe style breakfast sufficient on the shorter Asia flights. I do think though that there should be an option in Business to have something more substantial if you want it. The "room service" style ordering was always a winner for me and was a great concept. If there is a hot option as well as the cafe style then everyone should be happy.

17 Feb 2012

Total posts 121

Agree - these are (medium haul) ovenight flights where you can have a meal in the lounge; another meal less than two hours later on the plane and then apparently there is an (unhinged) demand for another full meal around 4 hours later.  Geez people, get a grip.  I know no-one gives a damn about waste, but this is bordering on gluttony.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jan 2013

Total posts 55

I agree with trip 88. I would like a hot brekly in J not this 'cafe style' menu. If you pay a grand for a ticket you need to be given a choice. my 2 cents worth...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 713

If it really all is about passenger choice, why not just load breakfast options to Select-On-Q. That way, you can make a choice over whether you want a full or light breakfast before your flight - reducing wastage.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2219

Agreed - more choices this way, but I think the core principles should emphasise a one-tray express breakfast that can be served as quickly as possible. Whether its central unit is muesli and yogurt or sausages and eggs is up to the passenger.

15 Jun 2013

Total posts 9

Sounds like the finance department is running or perhaps ruining the airline. Happened with Finnair on the 'reindeer' route who I now avoid due to their penny pinching and reduced crew to serve the meagre service they 'enhanced'.

What was broken? Yes wastage is an issue. On most overnights I decline breakfast, preferably in advance so as to get more sleep. With online check in so prevalent surely a simple question could be asked then. Or you FF profile can be amended to 'skip breakfast' or on overnight flights. If you'd like the 'full monty' gut buster breakfast and pork on DXB flights then tick the "Halal' bacon box.

The noise created by breakfast is an issuefor me. The thump thump of the incessant walking up and down of crew and clinking of service items seems to wake me up.

Perhpas CX 1-2-1 is the answer to reducing the noise in the morning. Next flight I'll find out.

And the timimg of breakfast is also wrong. Why so far out? Airlines can serve a decent dinner on some 45 minute flights. 

Finally on a number of overnight flights having declined breakfast and slept late I've had excellent crew rustle up coffee, OJ, muesli and fruit literally right up until touchdown. Slight exageration but if this is what QF have been trying to acheive with the Cafe Breakfast then to use the baseball parlance of the recent visitors it's a 'swing and a miss'!



31 Mar 2014

Total posts 6

I don't mind a light breakfast for flights that arrive before 8am but flights that are due to arrive after that should have a full breakfast as there is time to serve at a reaosnable hour and it is possibly the last meal until a late lunch/early dinner.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

03 Apr 2014

Total posts 14

30Mar14 QF15 @0600h into LAX in Business:  at GodZone boarding/pre-flight fizzy drink time we were offered the Breakfast Menu to peruse, with the "wake/not wake" option to be ticked, for service "about two hours prior to descent".  The much-lauded Cafe Menu was there, as was a choice of three hot brekkies, as well as the variety of odds and sods that seem to have crept into modern catering.

SWMBO opted for the hot/egg dish, and pronounced it very good; I had the healthier muesli/yoghurt option, supplemented with toast and vegemite, and freshly brewed cawfee, all of which I considered to be of a high standard.

Feedback appears to be working - and frankly, I don't think the bean-counting aspect should be tolerated by us, regardless of 'economy' dressed up in 'efficiency excuses' - if I pay for what I consider to be a "Business Class" product I will not accept a reduced degree of hedonism.

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 229

Not sure anyone noticed the part that explained that a lot of the full brekkies  on the shorter Asian flights were going untouched or only picked at. PAX not wanting to be woken or disturbed or not up for a big breakfast on little sleep. QF cut it back to a lighter easier to serve and less intrusive meal option as a sound and reasonable response. Sounds like for some of you it was another reason to criticise the airline for any change they make, regardless of what is happening in the cabin.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2219

Yes and no.

'Cafe breakfast' was a cut too far. It is about balancing service time and substance of meal; you want the service to be as short yet substantial as possible. The old full breakfast service was filling but slow; the 'cafe breakfast', while certainly much faster and allowing for some precious extra sleep, was a cold, sorry excuse for a meal.

Both the BKH/BKK and SIN/NRT egg dishes sound good, and hopefully we'll get what I was saying in March - an express but worthwhile breakfast, so premium passengers can hit the ground running.

23 May 2012

Total posts 49

Recently came in on QF21 from NRT - as the flight leaves reasonably late (and I don't eat late at night) I skipped dinner but went straigth to sleep.  The breakfast was definitely not enough to make up for dinner as well, and the return to a more substantive breakfast is more than welcome.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Nov 2012

Total posts 96

Really happy about this.  Have been a top level FF for years and travel somewhat regularly. I love a good breakfast in J class if I can't sleep or when the FAs insist on waking me up 2 hrs before arrival on a 7 hr flight.  Bottom line, if I fly J, I want choice and that cafe breakfast just irritated me.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

25 Aug 2012

Total posts 20

I'm all for sleeping and not for being waken two hours before touch down for a breakfast I don't want.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 529

Glad to see they are offering an option although I thought the cafe breakfast was great as I never want reheated eggs after a short-ish flight when I know I can get something decent after landing. 

17 Jul 2012

Total posts 4

I often fly via tokyo from US, and the qantas cafe breakfast is laughable! I call it the  $1 breakfast because you get served one onigiri (rice wrapped in seaweed) on a plate. You can get onigiri for less than $1 all over tokyo.  Anyway, qantas breakfast used to be can have as little or as much because you get to tick what you want.

Does it mean that the egg dishes will be served by itself, or does it come with fruit and yoghurt as appetisers?

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Qantas upgrades business class breakfast