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Qantas to phase out meal trays as part of economy food revamp

written by | November 12, 2014
Qantas will offering a trayless meal service in economy. (Qantas)
Qantas will offer a trayless meal service in economy from November 25 2014. (Qantas)

Meal trays with their (sometimes) tiny portions will soon be a thing of the past for economy passengers on Qantas’s international flights as part of a revamp of its food and beverage offering in the main cabin.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce says replacing the humble tray with new serving plates means larger portions for passengers and quicker service.

“Our crew will be able to serve and clear meals up to 30 minutes faster giving them more time to interact and assist passengers,” Joyce said in a statement on Wednesday.


“In delivering the new service Qantas continues to invest in Australian suppliers and showcasing the best of what we have to offer to people around the world.”

Economy passengers will have a choice of three main meals, up from two currently, as well as the ability pre-select their meal choice online prior to travel.

Serving sizes were increasing by 50 per cent, Qantas said.

Qantas said a team of food and beverage experts spent 12 months researching and developing the new menu and service and customer satisfaction from trials run on some international flights “almost doubled”.


The Airline Hub Buzz website reported trayless economy meals would also reduce catering centre handling costs and allow Qantas to invest more in the actual meal.

The removal of trays mean Qantas meal carts will be able to store more food.

“The current product allows for 38 meals to be stored in the carts, whilst the new one will increase to 58 meals and up to 78 meals on trans-Tasman services,” the website said.

Highlighting how being able to fit more food into standardised carts can save money, Virgin Atlantic reported saving 53 pounds of weight on a typical flight by reducing the size of its economy class trays.

The change meant it could store 33 per cent more meals per cart. In turn, Virgin Atlantic was able to reduce the number of carts carried from four to three. Less weight means less fuel burned and money saved.

The new economy dining concept will debut on Qantas’s Melbourne-Dubai-London service from November 25, with Sydney-Dubai-London to follow the next day.

The entire international network was expected to have the new service by March 1 2015.

A sample menu for the Qantas new economy service. (Qantas)
A sample menu for the Qantas new economy service. (Qantas)

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  • Mark Hazelwood


    They have green seats?

  • Jack


    Mark, you clearly have never flown on a Qantas A380, or seen pictures of their economy cabin. You will find green seats in one cabin, orange in another and red in another. Not sure what colours they use on the upper deck economy section.

  • Riplander


    I guess this is good bye to the concrete bun and butter as well as the stale vege salad that they provide in the meal trays.

  • katharine


    “…as well as the ability pre-select and pay for their meal choice online prior to travel.”

    So this is a sneak way totostart making passengers pay extra for meals on international flights???



      Thanks for your comment Katharine. the pre-selecting of meals will be free of charge. we have updated our story and taken out the reference to paying to pre-select meals. Apologies for the error.

  • Sam


    The move away from trays on Domestic has been great so this will most likely be an improvement too!

  • brett


    it also may stop the amount of plastic and garbage that these airlines dump on other countries on their arrival in to ports… have to to see it to believe it!! Punters walk off , never to see what is left behind picked up and taken away.

  • Ian


    I note that meal trays are being phased out on some domestic sectors – I think the jury is still out on this concept. The pre-selection of meals on any service however must be a win-win for both pax and the airlines – pax getting what they want and the airline being able to minimise on the amount of meals wasted?

  • franz chong


    I didn’t fly Qantas International prior to 1989 but they used to have in Economy from pictures I have seen a mix of Green and Blue Seats.Later they changed the covers but some were pink from the mid 80’s onwards.Mostly 767’s and 747’s from memory.The Domestic Insides were initially those of the old Australian Airlines 737’s and A300’s but were later revamped in the late nineties.

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