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Qantas backtracks on vegetarian food options to domestic flights

Qantas have backflipped on planned changes to on-board meals for flights. Photo / File

Qantas recently caused an uproar for having ditched its vegetarian meal offering on some of its domestic flights.

The decision caused angst some passengers, with one frequent flyer taking to Twitter this week to express his frustration after he was only offered a chicken pie on a flight from Adelaide to Sydney.

However, the airline has since decided to “increase” its non-meat variety “following customer feedback in recent days”.

“We’ve heard the message loud and clear about having vegetarian offerings on all of our flights and so we’re making that change as a priority,” Qantas Executive Manager of Product and Service, Phil Capps said in a statement.

“We had to make a lot of alterations to our service during Covid and we’re still in the process of bringing things back and updating others.

“There’s a lot of work happening to get Qantas back to its best and that includes listening to the feedback from our customers as we keep investing in our product and service.”

A Qantas spokesperson previously told news.com.au the airline made some changes to on-board food and service offerings during Covid to “simplify the service delivery for our crew”.

“If the option on a particular flight is not suitable for vegetarians, we try to offer an alternative of a small sweet or savoury snack which is vegetarian,” the spokesperson said on Tuesday.

However, in the coming weeks Qantas will carry vegetarian meals on all domestic flights under 3.5 hours — and not just some.

“As an example, for evening meal service a zucchini and corn fritter could be carried on-board in addition to a Chicken and Leek pie,” the statement read.

“We will also reintroduce fresh fruit on board, which was paused during the pandemic and due to high levels of wastage.”

It comes after a passenger’s complaint went viral, tagging the airline in a tweet about how he was left with only one meal option on-board a domestic flight.

“I’m informed that #Qantas no longer serve vegetarian food on domestic flights (except Perth),” frequent flyer and environmentalist Jon Dee wrote on Twitter earlier this week.

“Is Alan Joyce deliberately trying to run @Qantas into the ground? What kind of airline stops offering vegetarian food to its passengers? It was chicken pie or nothing tonight,” he continued.

Mr Dee said he had been able to get vegetarian options on flights in Australia since the 1990s, adding that he could “get a proper meal, like pasta”.

“They did great vegetarian meals. If it was a pie you would get a vegetarian pie. You had a good choice,” Mr Dee said.

His tweet got plenty attention from Aussies weighing in on the airline’s vegetarian move.

“You’d think they’d err on the side of vegetarian, or even vegan, food as a one-size-fits-all approach since that covers all dietary requirements,” one person wrote.

“And there are some just satisfying vegetarian dishes that most people would find appealing. BTW – I am not a vegetarian or a vegan.”

Qantas is the only domestic carrier to offer complimentary food and beverages, baggage, and on-board WiFi on its domestic Boeing 737s and Airbus A330s, on all Economy fares.

Qantas performance test

Qantas has faced troubling times in the last six months as flights return to pre-pandemic levels.

However, things are looking up for the airline since it announced it was making proactive steps to improve its services.

On Monday, the flying kangaroo released details on its operational performance, revealing flight delays, cancellations and mishandled bag rates had fallen in the first two weeks of September.

However, even the embattled airline says its performance will be tested in the next few weeks during the busy holiday period.

According to the airline, its on-time performance has improved from 52 per cent of flights on time in July, to 67 per cent in August and 71 per cent from September 1-14.

Flight cancellations, which has caused the most angst for passengers, have been reduced to 2 per cent during the month so far — down from 7.5 per cent in June and 4 per cent in August.

And mishandled bags are at six per 1000 passengers overall and five per 1000 for domestic, which Qantas said was in line with pre-Covid levels.




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