Virgin Australia takes a step closer to matching Qantas’ 'full service’ standard today with the debut of free meals and drinks for economy class travellers on selected flights.
The deal includes even the cheapest, most heavily-discounted economy tickets – but the arrangement is restricted to flights of more than 2 hours 45 minutes.
Virgin Australia's flights to Denpasar and Phuket are the first routes on the ‘free food’ schedule, with the airline planning to “progressively roll out the service on all flights over 2h 45m by the second half of this year”, a Virgin Australia spokeswoman confirmed to Australian Business Traveller.
“All guests will be offered the choice from two hot meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner, which are complemented by some side dishes such as a dessert, salad or bread roll” Virgin Australia says, while the buy-on-board service on these flights will move to being “snack based”.
Virgin Australia already offers free meals and drinks to all passengers on transcontinental services between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Perth.
However, the bulk of Virgin’s domestic flights – which, like Qantas, take place on the ‘golden triangle’ corridor of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne – take less than 2 hours 45 minutes, so economy passengers will still need to buy meals and drinks on board.
Asked how this time was settled upon as the cut-off for free meals, the Virgin Australia spokesperson said “the 2h 45m mark has been identified as a key flight time when our guests would like a meal as part of their flight service.”
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