The Australian flag carrier Qantas has been forced to bring back meat-free meals on shorter domestic flights after the airline was inundated with complaints from furious vegetarians who were forced to go hungry on many Qantas flights.
The airline’s executive manager of product and service, Phil Capps said on Friday that he had got the message “loud and clear” after Qantas made headlines around the world for its exclusionary meal choices.
“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,” Capps said after confirming that passengers would soon be able to choose either a vegetarian or non-vegetarian meal across all flights.
Capps insisted that Qantas only stopped offering a choice of meal at the start of the pandemic in early 2020 when the airline wanted to simplify the onboard service for cabin crew.
Despite the Australian government lifting all pandemic-era travel restrictions, Qantas was yet to fully restore its pre-COVID meal service.
“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,” Capps said. “There’s a lot of work happening to get Qantas back to its best and that includes listening to the feedback from our customers as we keep investing in our product and service.”
Qantas was forced into its latest embarrassing u-turn after the plight of vegetarians was highlighted by New South Wales businessman Jon Dee in a series of tweets about the lack of meal choice.
“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 last week.
“Is Alan Joyce (Qantas’ embattled chief executive) 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.”
Jon’s tweet quickly went viral and the rest, as they say, is history.
On Friday, Jon applauded Qantas’ change of mind saying he had received a phone call from the airline ahead of the official announcement. “Thanks for doing the right thing Qantas,” Jon said.
Over the coming weeks, Qantas will reintroduce vegetarian snack options, like a zucchini and corn fritter, on all domestic flights and alongside non-vegetarian options like a chicken and leak pie.
The airline also plans to start offering fresh fruit onboard all flights, although Capps said wastage would be uptake would be closely monitored because there was so much wastage 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.