Backlash as Qantas limits vegetarian meal options: 'Crazy'

Qantas has limited its flight menu, leaving vegetarians in the lurch with very few options.

In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, a Qantas spokesperson explained the airline made some changes to the onboard food and service offerings during the pandemic.

This was done to simplify the service delivery for the crew.

Now Qantas has decided to offer just one food option on shorter domestic flights, meaning passengers won't have options.

"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," the spokesperson said.

"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."

A Qantas in-flight meal. Source: Getty Images, file
Qantas has updated its in-flight menu and will no longer serve full vegetarian meals on some domestic flights. Source: Getty Images, file

The Qantas spokesperson confirmed passengers on longer domestic flights and international flights are able to pre-book a range of "special meals".

Such meals include vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options.

As many people pointed out on social media, by reducing vegetarian options on domestic flights, the airline risks alienating not just vegetarians, but also people who don't eat meat for religious or cultural reasons.

"This is crazy middle finger to vegetarians, and also to cultural diversity," someone remarked on Twitter.

Qantas passenger offered 'chicken pie or nothing'

The change to Qantas' menu was noticed over the weekend by Jon Dee, an environmentalist.

Flying from Adelaide to Sydney, which is generally just under two hours, he was told the airline no longer served vegetarian food on domestic flights, except when travelling to Perth.

The crew apparently said "one size fits all".

"What kind of airline stops offering vegetarian food to its passengers? It was chicken pie or nothing tonight," he said on Twitter.

He told ABC Radio he doesn't like pushing vegetarian food on anyone, and he doesn't like it when meat is pushed on him.

It's not just vegetarians raising issues with Qantas. Earlier this month Australian farmers expressed their outrage at the airline for serving New Zealand-produced snacks to Qantas passengers.

Pictured is a Qantas Airbus A380 aircraft
By scrapping vegetarian options, Qantas has been accused of alienating people who don't eat meat for religious or cultural reasons. Source: Getty Images

"The cheese isn't from an Australian dairy farm, the crackers aren't made of Australian wheat, and we would really like to see them backing Australian families," NSW Farmers chief executive Peter Arkle said.

He added the Qantas brand is "intimately tied" to the "Australian identity", so it would only be right for the airline to support local produce.

A Qantas spokesperson told AAP the airline was one of the biggest private-sector supporters of Australian farmers in the country, using products and services from more than 13,000 small local suppliers.

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