The largest airline in Australia has come under fire over its lack of vegetarian and vegan main courses on short domestic flights for passengers in economy class.

Customers flying the Australian flag carrier have taken to Twitter recently to express their frustration at the limited amount of options that do not include meat on domestic flights. The move is surprising considering the increase in Australians who are reducing meat consumption in recent years and the higher cost of providing meat options.

Simple Flying reached out to Qantas for comment and was informed the airline is currently reviewing the menu and will reintroduce fresh fruit and vegetarian options on all flights from next month. Executive Manager of Product and Service at Qantas, Phil Capps, pointed to the airline’s gradual reintroduction of complete food and beverage service and promised new menu items are on the way:

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

A330-200 Qantas

The airline only offers a limited selection on domestic flights of three and a half hours or less. Photo: Airbus

Fellow full-service carrier Virgin Australia confirmed this week that it continues to offer vegetarian options to all customers.

Dietary options on Qantas

The airline currently offers a wide selection of meal options across its long-haul network. However, the possibilities for short-haul flights are limited, especially for passengers flying in economy.

The airline states on its website, “Dietary required meal requests must be made via Manage my booking at least 24 hours before scheduled departure except for Kosher meals, which must be made at least 36 hours before departure.” Passengers’ options include Diabetic-friendly, gluten, and dairy-free, vegan, Kosher, Halal, Hindu, and children’s meals.

Passengers are also offered the option of a Jain Vegetarian meal. The meal does not contain animal products or animal by-products, eggs, dairy products, nuts, or root or bulbous vegetables to avoid killing the plant completely.

qantas in flight food

Passengers on international flights and domestic trips of three and a half hours or longer are provided with a full range of vegetarian menu options. Photo: Qantas

The airline offers a full range of meals on international flights and business class customers across domestic and regional routes. Dietary required meals are also subject to availability based on the catering facilities available at the origin and destination. Flights to and from Delhi and Bengaluru, for instance, are currently unable to offer Kosher meals.

Economy passengers are not currently guaranteed to have vegetarian options available on domestic flights of less than three and a half hours. The airline also is limited in its ability to provide a complete selection of meals on flights undertaken by its QantasLink subsidiary.

Snacks are offered all day on flights operated by QantasLink Dash 8 turboprop aircraft. Therefore, special dietary meals are not provided. For flights operated by the carrier’s Airbus 320, Boeing 717, Fokker 100, and Embraer 190 aircraft, restricted dietary meals are only available on flights offering a main in-flight meal, which includes morning, daytime, and evening meals.

QF-QantasLink-difference-GettyOther airlines are increasing options worldwide.

Airlines worldwide are responding to calls to introduce more vegetarian and vegan meal options for customers. Simple Flying previously looked at the plant-based options available on airlines worldwide. Fellow oneworld carrier Alaska Airlines recently updated its vegan menu to include new vegan options as part of its “Soy Meets World” collaboration with gourmet salad suppliers Evergreens.

In the United States, United Airlines works with Impossible Foods to offer vegan options for inflight meals and at select Polaris lounges. Much like Qantas, however, the updated menu items are only guaranteed for premium and business passengers.

Decreasing the amount of meat served is another way to reduce airlines’ environmental impact. In an open letter to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, Emily Rice of PETA Australia highlighted the fact that animal agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (14% to 20%) than aviation (3.5%) worldwide.

Source: The Guardian


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