The new economy : QANTAS international

Qantas takes international economy inflight dining to a whole new level

If you’ve watched TV over the last few days then chances are you’ve seen the latest Qantas TV commercial. Their new “Feels like home” advertising shows real stories of Qantas passengers travelling home to Australia.

What the new TV commercials don’t reveal is that those passengers will very soon be enjoying what Qantas believes is going to be the best economy food of any airline globally. Now that’s a big statement – but can Qantas deliver on it to the millions of passengers that it feeds every year? After sampling the new international economy menus I’m confident Qantas can.

Here’s a little more about the new menu that impressed me. If you’re leaving Australia with Qantas in the coming months then you’ll be one of the first to experience it.

Firstly portion sizes for the main meal have increased by 50%. Customers asked for a more substantial meal inside the little foil wrapped container and Qantas has listened. The new portion sizes are even larger than what some airlines offer in business class. Now that’s a win.

A larger portion doesn’t help if it’s a dish you don’t like. Here’s where the second change comes in – under the new menu the number of choices has been increased from two to four. And it gets better – the fourth dish is an exclusive offering that comes at no additional charge. The exclusive offering is intended to be premium, like the dish I chose – David Blackmore’s wagyu beef with polenta and green beans.

Some of the other new dishes for international economy passengers include honey roasted chicken farro salad with seasonal vegetables and pumpkin, and scrambled egg with chicken sausage, tomato, hash brown and baked beans.

The third factor underpinning the new menu, and one that Qantas should receive lots of credit for, is a continued support for Australian suppliers. I was surprised to discover that Qantas buys from and supports over 1,500 Australian providers. As a result some of the smaller companies receive the brand awareness needed to reach new markets. Australian brands to look out for include Ruby and Roy’s (hand-made desserts), Weis’ Frozen Foods and Bickfords drinks.

Finally, in spending the last 12 months making these changes Qantas hasn’t lost sight of the detail – those little touches that can make economy passengers feel just as important and ‘well-fed’ as more premium ticket holders. For example Lindt chocolate will be offered with the tea and coffee service, fresh fruit will be available for grazing, and pulled beef sliders will be served as a second meal on longer flights. And economy customers, like those in business class, will be able to pre-order meals online between seven days and 12 hours prior to departure. Now that’s impressive. I for one will be choosing online and ditching the back-up snacks in my carry-on bag.

In unveiling the new experience Qantas Group Chief Executive Alan Joyce said “We have worked closely with Australia’s leading producers and suppliers to deliver what we believe will be the best inflight economy dining experience offered by any international carrier”.

My experience of the new Qantas international economy menu left me with another reason to choose Qantas over its competitors. Food and drink is just one part of the inflight experience, but when you’re compromised in a small seat for 7-14 hours good food and drink makes a big difference.

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