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.
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.
Content of this Post:
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.
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.
The aviation industry has a difficult road ahead when it comes to sustainability. It’s going to require a relative revolution in technology, with ‘electric planes’ or hydrogen planes, or some form of jet engine that doesn’t require a carbon based fuel. And that is going to require the development of an alternative to jet engines probably.
It’s a big ask. It will take time to develop.
This move to home grown and manufactured SAF is a first step – maybe even a baby step in a very long road of innovation. In the long run, US$200 million won’t even touch the sides.
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!
What did you say?