A snapshot of Australian airline food

From the recent Canstar Blue research results in relation to domestic airlines, it seems that airline food has come a long way in recent years, with 48% of our survey respondents admitting that they like airline food! So what food is on offer across the various domestic airlines in Australia? Are there major differences in quality and range available on domestic flights across airlines? Here’s a very brief summary.

Virgin Australia

On Virgin Australia flights, economy class passengers receive complimentary beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic (beer and wine being available on flights departing between 5-7pm). They can also purchase snacks from a menu – this includes things like “sandwiches, banana bread, and gourmet pies”.

Passengers flying from Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne to Perth (or vice versa) receive a complimentary hot meal and beverage service.

Business class passengers can order food from a menu created by chef Luke Mangan. The menu offers:

  • Airline food in AustraliaBreakfast options (e.g. natural muesli, bacon and mushroom omelettes, or banana bread with maple syrup)
  • Lunch options (e.g. smoked trout, or a pumpkin and coconut soup), including salad options and desserts
  • Snacks available throughout the day
  • Three-course lunch or dinner available to passengers on flights over 3 hours
  • Continental breakfast available to passengers on flights travelling through the night
  • Australian beers, spirits and wines
  • Soft drinks, juices, teas and coffees


With menus developed in conjunction with chef Neil Perry, Qantas has made an effort to provide what it describes as ‘better quality inflight menus with more choice and variety’. Unlike Virgin, Qantas offers complimentary meals to economy class passengers, and claims that their new meals are up to 50% larger than their previous meals. They offer both hot (e.g. beef ragu with spaghetti) and cold meals (e.g. lentil quinoa & falafel salad with pomegranate dressing)served in space-efficient boxes and also offer complimentary drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

If you’re lucky enough to be in business class, you’ll have access to a slightly larger menu than economy-class, along with ‘flexible dining’ – which essentially means you have access to a multi-course meal, with the different courses arriving whenever you want. On top of complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, business class passengers also have access to “award winning wines”, along with cheese and cakes from a number of outside brands.


For economy class passengers, Jetstar offers drinks and snacks for purchase on board all its flights. This includes “sandwiches and wraps, gourmet snacks, boutique wine and brewed Grinders coffee”.

Business class fares include “deluxe three course lunches and dinners, gourmet in-flight snacks and room service style continental breakfasts”. Jetstar offers a range of western, regional and vegetarian meals, along with boutique wine and Grinders coffee.

It all sounds good enough to eat!

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