Qantas has stopped offering vegetarian meals on most domestic flights, causing one disgruntled traveller to call it a sign of the airline’s decline.
Former TV and radio host John Dee was on a Qantas flight from Adelaide to Sydney over the weekend when he was told that there was only chicken pie on the menu.
“They said it’s one size fits all now – it’s this or nothing for any flight under three and a half hours,” Dee said.
“The system for baggage has seemed to have collapsed overnight. For decades I’ve been able to have a vegetarian meal and all of a sudden that’s also collapsed overnight – and there is no reason it should have.”
Qantas confirmed that it was offering only one meal option on most domestic flights, meaning some flights would only serve chicken pie.
“During COVID we made some changes to onboard food and service offerings to simplify the service delivery for our crew,” a Qantas spokesperson said.
“We now offer a single meal/snack option per flight on our shorter flights, 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.
“On longer domestic and international flights customers can pre-book a range of special meals including vegan and gluten and dairy free options.”
Dee travels often for work and said that he has been able to get vegetarian options since the 90’s.
“On Qantas, you could get a proper meal, like pasta,” he said. “They did great vegetarian meals. If it was a pie you would get a vegetarian pie. You had a good choice.
“I went on a Jetstar flight recently and got a better option than Qantas. Not even Ryanair would try this on.”
Qantas’ subsidiary Jetstar still offers vegetarian options on all domestic flights, as does Virgin Australia.
Dee said that this action has alienated some of Qantas’ potential customer base, with approximately 10 per cent of Aussies eating a plant-based diet and more having dietary restrictions for religious reasons.
“What (Qantas CEO) Alan Joyce has done is alienate a significant percentage of Qantas passengers,” he said.