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Virgin Australia: real difference from Qantas – no Free snacks or soft drinks in Economy

Virgin Australia: real difference from Qantas – no Free snacks or soft drinks in Economy

At last, there is a tangible difference between Australia’s two major airlines. One will give you a free snack and a soft drink/alcoholic beverage in Economy, and one will not – after Thursday.


On Qantas, you will get a pre-packaged snack with your choice of water, soft drink, tea/coffee or beer/wine – depending on the time of day. On Virgin Australia as of this Thursday (25 March 2021) – you will get no snack, and only water or tea/coffee unless you are prepared to part with money – actually make that a credit card.

So, yes, for those who remember, Virgin Australia is going back-to-the-future – to where it was pre-John Borghetti and his drive to bring Virgin Blue into the full-service – competitor-to-Qantas age of Virgin Australia.

a bowl of food on a table
Pre-COVID-19 Luke Mangan Virgin Australia business class catering

New Business Class Service

And this is timed to be implemented (if you are already booked with Virgin in Economy, expect an email explaining how to score the snack and beverage you thought you were getting. You have to ask.) on the same day that Virgin is announcing its new Business class service, which until now has been totally underwhelming.

a box of food in a box
COVID-19 business class snack box last week on Virgin Australia

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

Onboard catering for domestic flights – given that most flights are under 2 hours – does not play a huge part in determining most people’s choice of airline. However, if you are a road warrior, then that time spent on board, might be your only chance to grab a snack, or have a post-work cleansing ale in a frantic day of meetings and travel.

After price and schedule, catering is probably the next most important consideration for the business flyer, which could make this change significant.

Mind you, if I have status related access to a lounge, and my fare will be AU$20 to AU$50 cheaper per leg on Virgin – stuff the free snack and drink!

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