Virgin Australia: free food in economy on all Australian flights

By David Flynn, April 15 2015
Virgin Australia: free food in economy on all Australian flights

Virgin Australia is now offering free food on all Australian domestic flights as the airline continues to close the service gap with Qantas.

This doesn't mean that pay-to-eat is off the menu, however – Virgin says it will retain "the popular on-board Retail Menu" to offer travellers a wider choice of food and drink.

But as a starting point, you'll no longer need to dig into your pocket or purse for a bite to eat.

Does the free food qualify as a meal or just a snack? Both, says Virgin Australia: "the food and beverage service has been tailored to the time of day and the duration of the journey," ranging from muffins to sandwiches.

Read our review of Virgin Australia’s domestic snack service

This comes on top of the free wine, beer and soft drink served during ‘Happy Hour’ between 5pm and 7pm weekdays (so it's actually 'Happy Two Hours'. Cheers!).

With Virgin also providing free checked baggage on all domestic flights, expanding its airport lounge network and launching trans-Tasman business class, the challenger has taken another step away from its low-cost Virgin Blue roots to transform into a premium 'full service' airline.

Also read: Virgin Australia's Velocity Frequent Flyer Gold status - the unofficial guide

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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

Happy hour I like, but seldom take advantage of.

The snacks they serve are generally awful, apart from the mainland cheese and crackers which is often subbed off the retail menu onto the free snack offering on sunday nights. I assume it's more economical to do so due to it's extended shelf life.

I can't pretend to understand the logistics of in flight food service, but an apple would be better than some of the awful, sugar laden cake stuff they serve!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

I've heard that before ;)

Qantas

15 Apr 2015

Total posts 2

Flew on VA on the weekend from BNE to ADL in Economy. Was offfered a 1 cheese flavoured biscuit and a little pod of salsa. Not sure if they went together. Not really a meal and barely a snack. Most people around me ordered from the menu. Not on par with QF.

07 Aug 2012

Total posts 197

I've experienced that "food" on Virgin too. Not only was the serving size miniscule, it was stale!

QF

21 Aug 2012

Total posts 14

As they say, can please all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, it's a tough audience to keep airline passengers happy so best to eat before you fly if your a fussy one.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

maybe that statement should be VAs ad new campaign...hehehe

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

Still way behind QF Domestic Economy complimentary offerings....VA Domestic Ecomony is still very much LowCostCarrier...the only exceptions being VAs SYD/MEL/BNE-PER vv.  

In my opinion.

will VA cater for speacial  dietery meals. is there a place to request this on the website?

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

NOPE..VA still don't have a Domestic 'special dietary meal' pre-order selection.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 319

That's a joke not offering people with special meals for health or religious reasons an alternative.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 319

A good question.Special Diets or Religious Requirements are something I have yet to see on Virgin.

bmc
bmc

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Aug 2013

Total posts 169

Starting when. Today?

Anyone travelling VA noticed anything?

17 Feb 2012

Total posts 121

Had a thai beef salad on QF economy flying Melb-Syd on Saturday night - it was amazing.  Simply one of the best airline meals I have eaten domestically and washed down with a James Boags.  Could not have been faulted.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 532

VA food is below par they need to fix the meals. Other then that I would give Qantas back my Platinum card and keep the Virgin card any day when flying Australia.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 355

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

+1 unfortuantely still a budget airline marketing itself as a full service carrier

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Apr 2015

Total posts 2

"FREE MEAL" in Virgin translation: A free muffin from the hours of 6pm and 7.35pm Monday-Thursday, on East coast capital cities excluding Brisbane on all flights 2.5hrs or more departing north excluding flights departing Cairns heading south. A meal is not a muffin or a biscuit or half a sandwich. Not exactly my cup of tea (complimentary or otherwise).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 714

About time!

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

"Ranging from muffins to sandwiches" makes it sound like something more substantial than they've currently got.

They're definitely working on the lounge food too; their most recently announced "real food" push seems to have resulted in big plates of bacon and pancakes at breakfast time; not sure what's on offer at other times but I have no complaints about Virgin lounge breakfasts nowadays (though I still stick with the ham, egg and cheese toasted sandwich personally...)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 226

I've noticed recently Virgin's snack service is improving, bigger portions which is good considering the smaller snacks somehow make you hungrier. 

East Coast-Perth they're still hands down better with food than QF in economy, if i'm paying from my own pocket i'll usually go with VA on this route.  

bmc
bmc

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Aug 2013

Total posts 169

Arnott's Mint Slice is all we get on the Bass Strait hop

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 714

All they need is to fix up transtasman to bring it in line with Virgin Australia

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

I've sampled 4 of these this week - atrocious. No surprises though poor food seems to be a theme with VA all the way from the lounge to the aircraft and including the menu for sale food, time to step it up

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 319

I don't know what it resembles now but the sandwiches I would looking at the menu from the last time I flew Virgin Australia are below par.I miss the old not all that much different from a hospital cafeteria type of things that used to exist way back in the Ansett era on a refreshment time flight.

20 Apr 2014

Total posts 94

VA food from either in the lounge or from buy on board on VA, is far superior to QF in both variety and quality (the buy on board offerings beat the sad QF prison catering boxes also - there's only so many ways to serve up sad, dry chicken in 50c piece sized serves, the attempts at variety verge from the mundane to the bizarre - give me a good sandwich or pie any day!).

I travel domestic weekly on both carriers so get the opportunity to directly sample and compare, the extra cost of QF fares does not justify their woeful catering in the air.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 191

as more and more people fly air travel became a bus service-you don't get food on a bus or train which last over an hour so why do you want it in the air?????

if you crave for a good service cough up and fly on business class for G-sake!

03 Mar 2012

Total posts 15

To paraphrase my mother, "If you can't afford to serve a full sandwich, better to serve nothing at all". When you do luck upon a meal it is generally some dubious casserole served with Deb instant mashed potato. Luke Mangan needs to get his head around what the masses want to eat. Seasonal & fresh are words much bandied around in the airline industry but I've seen little evidence of it in the last decade.


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