Virgin Australia has revealed what passengers can expect from its on-board menus, a day after reminding passengers free snacks would be ditched from economy.
The airline unveiled today that its new business class menu – which has not been developed with a celebrity chef, as has been the case in the past – would focus on “simple, modern, fresh and contemporary dishes” and was designed to keep the overall price of airfares low.
From today, business class passengers on domestic flights can choose from dishes such as lamb and rosemary pie, haloumi and quinoa salad, ham and egg brioche roll, and smashed avocado and crumbed feta on sourdough, all made with locally sourced Australian produce, and served on tableware with crockery and cutlery.
The business class menu comes with premium Australian wine and beer, soft drinks and spirits, and will be rotated bimonthly.
Meanwhile, in economy, passengers will need to pay for their own food from a new on-board menu.
The airline said the menu would feature popular snack and drink items, including cheese and crackers, but wouldn’t be launched until travel demand picked up later in the year.
While free snacks will go, water, coffee and tea will still be complimentary for economy passengers on all flights.
Passengers who bought their economy ticket before March 25 can still request a free snack.
Virgin Australia announced in November it would ditch free economy snacks as it transformed into a “mid-market” carrier under new chief executive officer Jayne Hrdlicka.
Passengers were reminded of the on-board changes by email yesterday.
The airline said research found travellers preferred to choose their own food and drinks in a buy-on-board model on domestic flights, rather than getting a predetermined snack.
“Today’s customers are more conscious about what they consume than ever before. We like to choose what we eat and what we drink throughout the day – we are simply extending that choice on-board as well,” Ms Hrdlicka said.
“By removing snacks that aren’t valued by our guests we’re able to structurally reduce airfares making it even cheaper to fly. We’ll continue to offer complimentary tea, coffee and water on all flights and the opportunity for guests to purchase their favourite menu items at a reasonable price,” she said.
Ms Hrdlicka said the new business class menu had been in development for months would be “high quality, relaxed, uncomplicated and exactly what our guests and team members have told us they want”.
Virgin Australia general manager of product and customer Sarah Adam said the business class menu had been designed to counteract the loss of taste and smell passengers experienced flying at high altitude.
“It’s well known that when you’re high above the clouds you lose some sense of taste and smell so this was a really important factor in designing the new menu so our food not only looks great but tastes great in the air,” she said.
“We’ve really dialled-up the flavours in the food with the right seasoning and textures to provide a very competitive business class experience for domestic travel in Australia.
“Supporting Australian farmers and producers was another important factor in designing the menu so we’ll have seasonal Australian produce from local producers in dishes throughout the year.”
In addition to the menu changes, Virgin Australia also announced today passengers could expect cheaper business and economy airfares mid-year, which follows a 20 per cent drop in business class fares since November, and would review its business and economy class brands.