Is Qantas trying to win us back with better food?

Regular passengers with Qantas will have clocked the decline in food quality over the years. 

Once upon a time as Australia’s premier carrier, you could be guaranteed what could be categorised as ‘decent’ food. A long way from gourmet, but at least decent. A salad and ham roll and maybe a juice, which you immediately spilled because it was in those annoying foil-sealed cup things.

It’s been a long time since then, and you can’t expect much more than a tasteless sweet or savoury biscuit these days. 

However, as part of Qantas’ charm offensive to win back public favour, the carrier has announced a new menu for economy passengers and, let’s face it, that’s most of us.

“We are always adjusting our menu in response to customer feedback and to enhance our in-flight dining experience,” Qantas executive manager of product and service Phil Capps said.

“These hot menu items have been created using quality Australian ingredients and we’re pleased to be rolling out a wider range of choice for customers travelling across our domestic network,” he added.

New breakfast 

For breakfast, passengers can expect gourmet brekkie burgers and Mediterranean pizza and cauliflower bites. Sounds good, love the choice. 

Other items include a lot of words that probably shouldn’t be on an airline food menu. You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?

Starting with Yummy Karma scrambled egg brioche. I looked this up so you don’t have to, and Yummy Karma doesn’t describe the meal, it’s a ready meals company. 

Airlines love scrambled eggs because they reheat easily, but they generally taste and look woeful. I blame myself for this knowledge because I am one of those sad sacks who will give any airline meal a crack. I once ate something on an international flight that looked and tasted like leaf litter. In my defence, I didn’t eat it all. 

Next Up a ciabatta roll with Portuguese chicken and mango lime jam. This sounds fancy but you know deep down it’s a chicken roll with sauce. And the bread will be slightly clammy because it has been frozen. 

When is beef not beef?

Vegetarians can try carrot and pumpkin fritters. Once again, as these will be reheated from frozen, don’t expect any of that delicious crunchiness you’d expect from fritters.

And finally, we have my absolute bugbear, food described as ‘artisanal’ or Simmone Logue’s artisanal beef sausage rolls. Is it really artisanal? Did artists really make it? Or was it just churned out in a factory close to the nearest airport? 

Let’s hope it’s better than the previous version. One review  found the ‘beef’ sausage rolls only contained 15 per cent beef. 

The expanded menu is only for domestic flights longer than two hours and will be rolled out over the coming weeks. 

What do you think of airline food? Would the improvements change your mind about flying Qantas? Why not share your opinion in the comments section below?

Also read: What would make you give up your airline seat?

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


  1. I last flew with Qantas in 2019 ( Sydney /Perth Return ) the meal served was awful as I recall
    it was a curry of some sort served up in a cardboard box.
    What is wrong Qantas ? I was obliged to take some sandwiches purchased at the Perth airport
    to sustain me on the return leg I have not flown Qantas since !

    R Butler Lake Macquarie NSW

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