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Qantas Launches New Vegetarian-Friendly Inflight Menu

The Australian flag carrier has reintroduced vegetarian options after a customer backlash

by Fergus Cole

October 10, 2022

Photo: Courtesy of Qantas Airways

Qantas has released details of its new menu following a recent decision to reintroduce vegetarian options.

During the pandemic, the Australian airline chose to simplify what meals it offered onboard its flights. Journeys under 3.5 hours had options limited, meaning that on many flights, only a single, non-vegetarian option remained.

Criticism of this policy was ignited by former TV personality John Dee, who caused a Twitter storm last month after revealing his only choice on an Adelaide to Sydney flight was a chicken pie. Following the backlash, Qantas assured passengers they would start offering vegetarian meals again.

“We’ve heard the message loud and clear about having vegetarian offerings on all of our flights, and so we’re making that change as a priority,” said Qantas’ executive manager of Product and Service, Phill Capps, on September 22. 

“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.”

Making good on their word, the airline published details of its new menu on Friday, October 7. The improved offering allows passengers to pick from:

  • Yogurt, banana, honey, macadamia bread, and apple breakfast packs
  • Courgette and corn fritters
  • Ham and egg hollandaise ciabatte
  • Roast chicken and chive sandwich on rye
  • Spinach on ricotta wrap
  • Pear and ginger cake
  • Chocolate caramel slice

Qantas will also be trialing new plant-based meat substitutes – although these will only be served in Sydney’s airport lounges at first.

“Qantas is continuing to invest in product and service as we work to get back to our best,” said Capps following the new menu’s release. “We have been progressively returning normal service levels, and last month we fast-tracked the return of vegetarian options on all flights.”

Capps was also keen to highlight the improvement of certain services on Qantas flights: “When we brought back complimentary beer and wine, we extended the times of day it was served by several hours and expanded it across all routes.”

The saga comes as many airlines—Qantas included—are facing criticism for significant flight disruption. With public opinion of aviation low, policies that further aggravate passengers, such as a lack of menu options, are likely to cause a bigger problem than they might otherwise.

Despite the initial furor, Qantas’ quick menu expansion has prevented the issue from growing further. Whether other airlines will follow suit to avoid scrutiny needs to be seen.