Qantas has reinstated vegetarian meals for economy class passengers on all domestic flights after the decision to remove the option for short-haul flights led to a fierce public backlash.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Qantas has reduced meal options for economy passengers traveling less than 3.5 hours to one snack option, often a chicken and leek pie or a vegetarian pie or corn fritter. The only option meant that some vegetarian passengers missed out on meals on flights.
The carrier said the decision to cut the offer was due to “high levels of wastage”, but on Friday it said it would reintroduce vegetarian meals and fresh fruit on all flights.
“Qantas will monitor the use of these options and make further adjustments to ensure we reflect customer preferences,” the airline said in a statement.
Passengers on all international flights, domestic business flights and domestic economy class cabins on flights of more than 2.5 hours are provided with “a wide range of dietary options”, the airline continued.
Qantas also said it introduced plant-based options on “almost all” international flights last year and committed to phasing out single-use plastics, which are often used in food packaging, on board and in cabins.
The airline’s executive product manager, Phil Capps, said the airline had been forced to make “changes” to service during COVID-19 and was “in the process” of updating its menu.
“We are in the middle of a wider menu update for our in-house chain which will be rolled out from October, which includes new vegetarian options. There’s a lot of work to be done to get Qantas back to its best, and that includes listening to our customers’ feedback as we continue to invest in our products and services,” Capps said.
Regional Express offers complimentary savory or sweet snacks and beverages to all passengers on Rex flights. Virgin Australia does not provide complimentary snacks or meals for Economy Class seats on domestic flights.