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Planet Ark founder tells Qantas ‘Your turn’ in veggie food row

written by Casey Martin | September 22, 2022

The co-founder of environmental organisation Planet Ark has challenged Qantas to reinstate vegetarian meals on shorter flights.

John Dee told the airline it’s “Your turn” on Twitter after rival Virgin confirmed it was still offering meals for people with dietary requirements on equivalent services.

Earlier this week, it emerged the Flying Kangaroo quietly pared back its food selection during COVID and now offered only a single meal or snack option on flights under three and a half hours.

The furore began after a tweet from Dee went viral over the weekend claiming that Qantas is no longer serving vegetarian meals on some domestic flights.

His tweet gained traction when other social media users backed up his claim that the airline was suffering from a slow decline.

Twitter user Prabha Fasman wrote, “I had the same experience on two Qantas flights last month. It was chicken on one and ham on the other. They offered me small bags of soy rice crackers, clearly the equivalent of hot snacks.”

Qantas later confirmed the development was true, stating it now offers only a single meal or snack option on shorter flights, such as a chicken pie or onion frittata.

“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,” it said.

However, on Jon Dee’s Adelaide to Sydney flight, only the chicken pie was offered to him.

Qantas will also stop serving kosher and other dietary meals on the shorter domestic flights, further affecting not only the 10 per cent of Australians with plant-based diet but also thousands of those with religious dietary requirements.

However, dietary requirements such as vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free will be catered for on longer domestic and international flights, so long as they are notified by the customer beforehand.

Jon Dee had furthered his opinion on the matter when talking to The Guardian.

“What Alan Joyce has done is alienate a significant percentage of Qantas passengers,” he said.

“When you pay for Qantas, you pay for full service, that includes a meal and all of sudden if you don’t eat meat, or you have a special meal need, or your religion means you can’t eat a type of food, this decision has alienated you.”

On Thursday morning, he tweeted, “Your turn. Time to reverse your decision to stop supplying guaranteed meals for vegetarians, people of faith and people with health-related food requirements.”

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Comment (1)

  • Rod Pickin


    I expect I will attract the wrath of a few travellers however, you must realise that we are in the year 2022 and not 1982 or 1992 so the choice of meals is really at the bottom of the page when considering a flight. Seriously, does one really expect a meal on say a 1 hour 25 mins flight these days, it is nonsense; the days of a full drinks service followed by a hot full meal and then coffee and a liqueur even for ECY pax are in the history books. I do have some sympathy for our ADL SYD passenger though but I wonder did he bother to check the situation with the staff at “The Club” whilst he was awaiting departure most likely filling up on vegetarian booze; maybe not because if he did, I feel sure a suitable munchable would have been loaded. All this publicity over a minority’s meal choice failure probably says more about the complainant than Qantas.

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