Australia’s embattled flag carrier Qantas is facing yet more criticism from disgruntled passengers and this time it’s not because of cancelled flights, lost luggage or even sky-high airfares.
Once passengers have managed to get themselves on a Qantas jet (which may or may not be dirty due to a lack of cleaning), cabin crew will only offer one snack option, and that has drawn the ire of Australian vegetarians who are expected to go hungry when only a meat-based snack is being passed out.
The latest drama to hit the airline blew up over the weekend when New South Wales businessman Jon Dee tweeted his frustration at the lack of a vegetarian snack option on a Qantas flight.
“I’m on the Adelaide to Sydney flight – I’m informed that Qantas no longer serve vegetarian food on domestic flights (except Perth),” Jon tweeted.
That meant Jon, who is a vegetarian, had to go without a snack while other passengers around him tucked into chicken pie that had just been handed out. The cabin crew told him that they are now expected to offer a “one size fits all” service.
“Is Alan Joyce deliberately trying to run Qantas into the ground?” Jon asked. “What kind of airline stops offering vegetarian food to its passengers? It was chicken pie or nothing tonight.”
A Qantas spokesperson has confirmed the service approach, saying that the airline “offers a single refreshment option per flight, such as a chicken pie or a zucchini and 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,” the spokesperson explained.
The policy only applies to domestic flights shorter than 3.5 hours, but that hasn’t saved Qantas from a barrage of criticism.
Virgin Australia was quick to respond to Jon’s tweet, confirming that it still offered vegetarian snack options, although the carrier stopped serving complimentary snacks last year and now only offers a ‘buy on board’ menu in Economy.
The airline claimed that the majority of its passengers said they didn’t require a complimentary meal when they flew Economy.
Qantas, however, continues to offer a complimentary service on all of its flights – an approach that, nowadays, can often lead to disappointment. The airline claims, however, that the one-option service isn’t down to cost-cutting but instead was introduced during the pandemic to “simplify” the service delivery for cabin crew.
On Monday, Qantas announced that its recent woeful performance had been improving and in the first half of September, nearly three-quarters of flights arrived at the destination on time, and flight cancellations fell to just 2 per cent of scheduled services – lower than before the pandemic.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.