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QANTAS: Now, hated by vegetarians – UPDATED

QANTAS: Now, hated by vegetarians – UPDATED


Since I posted this, several articles have appeared, most notably one in the AFR’s Chanticleer column. Try and read it, although it is behind a paywall. Here is a tantalising quote about the current sky-high prices’ contribution to today’s notification of even higher half-year earnings for Qantas:

‘Government data suggests fares for the cheapest seats haven’t been as high as they are now since September 2007; by way of example, a quick scan of the Qantas website suggests the cheapest flights from Sydney to Melbourne and back in a week’s time is about $885.’

Chanticleer, AFR


Poor Qantas, they just can’t win a trick these days.

Surfacing in the last few days is the *revelation* that Qantas serves a one-size-fits-all ‘meal’ on most domestic flights under 3.5 hours.

It’s a ‘take it or leave it’ deal, which has been going on at least since the dawn of the pandemic if not before. Take the Simone Logue chicken pie or don’t. Have the cheese and crackers, or hummus and crudites or tell them to shove it, with or without Beerenberg tomato relish on the side.

a bottle of wine and a box of food
Typical ‘hot’ meal, if received during wine time

In Economy, you get one option. In Business, you get two, usually one meat-based, and one plant-based.

Qantas is in everyone’s targetting sights at the moment, which is the only reason I can think this issue has emerged now, when the catering policy has been around for a year or two.

The Tweet that seem to have started the latest hating Qantas wave, from an astute media performer ex Sky News.

Less than full-service airline

Qantas positions itself in its marketing and more importantly, its pricing as a ‘full-service’ airline. And it is ‘full service’ on most fronts: it has a loyalty scheme, it has business class, it runs two or three types of lounges in most capital cities, it has WiFi on its planes, it includes luggage and ‘refreshments’ in fares, and you get an alcoholic beverage on weekdays on ‘after-work’ flights.

a plate of food and glasses on a tray
This is Business Class on Qantas, but wouldn’t it be nice to return to proper hot meals in economy?

Nostalgia for hot meals

What you don’t get is a proper meal service. Remember when every flight came with a hot meal? Ok, Ok, I am taking you back to the last millennium when we used to put a 19 in front of the year instead of a 20. Yep, we used to scald ourselves as the steam shot out as you removed the foil. Happy days!

Now, defying any real logic, you have a lucky dip of getting something more substantial, like the inevitable chicken pie, or something ridiculously unsatisfying like dip and carrot sticks. Don’t even get me started on trying to work out when you are entitled to a complimentary alcoholic beverage or not.

Unless you travel in Business with Qantas where you always get a choice of two meals, plus wine or spirits should your heart desire., you are confined to the single choice Qantas has made for you. Business on Qantas also have a selection of salty snacks you can request.

a plastic knife and a cup of coffee
‘Spife’ or ‘Knoon’ – innovative plastic flatware from Qantas back when Tony Abbott was our Prime Minister. 2016?

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.

Why is Qantas risking reputational damage, when plant-based meals, especially for the under 35’s are becoming more and more popular? The expense of loading two options, one meat-free should be covered by the reduced cost of the plant-based option. And if you are loading the same number of meals – so that when one option runs out, there is only the other available, where is the additional cost?

I can understand that Qantas might want to avoid the costs involved in pre-ordered specialty meals for the whole alphabet soup of dietary requirements – everything from pescetarian, coeliac, paleo, vegetarian etc. But surely it would be worth it just on the basis of the environmental friendliness of it that the Qantas PR department could crow about?

Qantas, with your reputation, slammed, you need to fix this, which I think you can probably do at little or no additional cost. So fix it!

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