Virgin Australia will begin serving free meals and drinks in economy class on selected flights in February 2014.
The free dining will be offered to passengers on selected Sydney-Melbourne and Sydney-Brisbane flights as part of a trial to help shape the airline's new inflight menu, a spokesman for Virgin Australia told Australian Business Traveller, ahead of the introduction of free meals and drinks on all domestic Virgin Australia flights later in the year.
Virgin will be serving light meals, snacks and vegetarian options across a number of different flights on the two routes and seeking customer feedback on each meal.
The move will further close the gap between Virgin Australia and Qantas. The Flying Kangaroo currently offers free food and drink to all passengers on all domestic flights and has held this up as as a differentiator against Virgin, along with the inclusion of free checked baggage on all tickets.
Virgin already offers free meals for all passengers on its transcontinental 'Coast to Coast' routes between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, but travellers on other flights within Australia have to pay for meals and most drinks.
This 'food fight at 40,000 feet' is another volley in the ongoing dogfight between Qantas and Virgin Australia, which has escalated in recent months with Qantas challenging extensive investment in Virgin from its partners Air New Zealand, Etihad and Singapore Airlines.
If you're travelling in economy on a domestic flight such as Sydney-Melbourne or Brisbane-Melbourne, what meals and drinks would you like to be offered?
Follow Australian Business Traveller on twitter: we're @AusBT