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Qantas U-turns and will reinstate veggie meals

written by Adam Thorn | September 23, 2022

Qantas has reversed its decision to stop offering vegetarian meals on shorter flights following a backlash this week.

The airline said on Friday morning it “heard the message loud and clear” and would make the change in policy a “priority”.

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 came to light following pressure from John Dee, the co-founder of environmental organisation Planet Ark.


“In the coming weeks, Qantas will carry vegetarian meals on all domestic flights under 3.5 hours,” the business said.

“As an example, for evening meal service, a zucchini and corn fritter could be carried onboard in addition to a chicken and leek pie.

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

“Qantas will monitor take up of these options and make any further adjustments to make sure we reflect customer preferences.”

Qantas’ executive manager of product and service, Phil Capps, said, “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.

“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. When we brought back complimentary beer and wine, we extended the times of day it was served by several hours and expanded it across all routes.

“We’re in the middle of a broader menu refresh for our domestic network that will roll out from October, which includes new vegetarian options.”

The furore over veggie meals began last weekend when a tweet from Dee went viral claiming Qantas only offered him a chicken pie on a short flight.

He went on to claim in The Guardian that the CEO, Alan Joyce, had alienated a “significant percentage” of its passengers.

“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,” said Dee.

On Thursday morning, he tweeted Virgin, who confirmed it offered a vegetarian meal on all flights.

In 2022, Qantas has faced a string of problems, including huge delays at Easter, hours-long call wait times, and even a revelation that the cabin crew of a Qantas A330 were made to sleep across seats in economy. Last year, the Federal Court ruled the Flying Kangaroo was wrong to outsource 2,000 ground handling roles and subsequently rejected an initial appeal.

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Comments (5)

  • Ashley


    About time all these various types of SPML’s were charged additionally to those pre-ordering them, to have prepared, loaded & served on board an aircraft.
    Most people only order them for a ‘change’, & don’t have strict dietary needs.
    They’re just a ‘fad’ to them, costing airlines’ heaps $.

    People are always able to bring their own food, or buy a snack at the airport, if they’re going to get hungry with 2-3 hours’ of flight duration, Domestically.

    QANTAS is in the business of getting people from point a, to point b, safely.

    It’s not a ‘flying restaurant’…

  • Ainsley


    That bloke who whinged about not getting a VGML on his QF flight, said ‘Virgin would get his business’.

    He’s obviously not aware VA is a LCC, & as such, no VGML is served.

  • Robert


    Sorry QF has caved in to a very small minority requiring said meal type.

    These folk who think they’re so ‘important’ to the airline, really are just whingers’.

    About time a meaningful surcharge came into being, then see how much they need a ‘special meal’.

  • Sanjeev


    Vegetarians are always uses being left out.
    What would be even better is if qantas was sophisticated enough to provide decent vego meals as well.

  • Ainslie


    Shame QANTAS has caved-in to a whingey-whiney tiny minority.

    The Company is in the business of persons’ transport, it’s not a flying restaurant.

    These so-called ‘special meals’ should be surcharged at their cost.

    Many order them as a ‘fad’, so if they had to pay for this, there would be many less required.

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