Virgin Australia has scrapped free catering for its economy class passengers. Instead, passengers will now be required to pay to fill their stomachs, a move being echoed at airlines across the world.
Around the world, airlines have shaken up their offerings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For some, such as British Airways passengers, this has seen a positive change. However, others, such as those flying with the Lufthansa Group, have seen the free snack withdrawn. Virgin Australia is following suit with the Lufthansa Group, also removing its complementary offering on economy class bookings moving forward.
Bye-bye free food
According to a letter to passengers with existing bookings seen by Simple Flying, Virgin Australia will be saying farewell to its complementary offering as of Thursday. The airline revealed that it would continue to offer passengers tea and coffee on flights.
In the case of passengers who have already purchased a fare with a meal, they have been advised to make themselves known to the cabin crew if they still require a snack. The business class catering proposition will not be affected by the changes. According to Australian publication 9News, Virgin Australia is to require affected passengers to purchase refreshments from the airline’s onboard menu.
All Virgin’s domestic lounges open
While things aren’t looking great for the airline’s economy catering program, things are better over the business’s lounge side. Last week, the Australian airline revealed that its entire portfolio of lounges has now reopened, with its Canberra lounge reopening in the nation’s capital.
The airline has been reopening its lounges in response to increasing passenger demand. Indeed, Australia’s domestic flight figures have passed 2020 levels for the first time, almost showing a full recovery thanks to a surge in domestic operations. Lounge guests will be able to enjoy a selection of sandwiches, salads, wraps and healthy snacks, freshly prepared on site, giving frequent flyers a sustained avenue to filling up during travel.
Is axing free catering such a bad thing?
Virgin Australia isn’t the first airline to ax free catering in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, earlier this month, we revealed that Austrian Airlines had unveiled its new paid catering proposition on short-haul flights.
One could argue that moving to paid catering is better for passengers depending on the airlines. The complimentary refreshments offered by some airlines have become somewhat substandard in recent years. However, paid catering options are often far better. This is undoubtedly the case with Lufthansa’s new dean&david catering offering, which dramatically improves the airline’s previous free half sandwich offering that was somewhat underwhelming.
What do you make of Virgin Australia scrapping its complimentary catering in the economy cabin? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!