Qantas Inflight Meals Review: All You Need to Know

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Inflight Catering Overview

Qantas provides complimentary meals and snacks based on the time and destination of your flight. Outside standard meal hours, passengers in economy can expect a selection of basic snacks and beverages. During dining times, a more robust offering is presented, including hot meals and a variety of salads. Business class passengers enjoy an enhanced menu, reflective of Qantas’s commitment to quality and service.

Lounge Life – Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns

Melbourne

Over the past year, my frequent journeys with Qantas have given me the opportunity to experience various cabins, inflight service and lounges. The Melbourne business lounge distinguishes itself with its stylish ambiance and superior food and beverage selections, setting a high standard for lounge experiences.

A Qantas domestic meal service featuring a table with a bowl of food and a glass of orange juice.
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Sydney

Over in Sydney, the lounge is poised for a transformation set to rival Melbourne’s charm. Until then, enjoy the self-service buffet that sings with variety—sandwiches, salads, toasties, and desserts tailored to the time of day.

Cairns

Cairns may play it more casual but still delights with good offerings, a buzzing coffee and snack station, and the added spectacle of runway vistas.

A table displaying Qantas' domestic meal offerings.
A grilled cheese sandwich on a white plate.
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Business Class – Domestic

On a flight where culinary expectations were sky-high, my business-class seat from Melbourne to Sydney seemed the perfect setting for a memorable inflight meal.

An airplane's screen showing a welcome message in 5k resolution with Qantas domestic meals.

Anticipation turned to surprise, however, when the captain announced a catering hiccup — no gourmet experience was on the menu today. Instead, we were offered an impromptu minimalist tasting of water paired with a side of pretzels.

A table with snacks and water.

Regarding the cabin’s cleanliness, it seemed to have been overlooked in favor of a more ‘lived-in’ aesthetic.

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Redemption came on the return leg to Melbourne. The salad option may have vanished quickly but the butter chicken emerged as the hero of the hour. Rich, flavorful, and perfectly portioned for this quick domestic hop.

A Qantas domestic meal tray with a bowl of food and a plate of bread.

Economy Class – Domestic

In economy class Qantas adjusts its service offering snacks such as cheese and crackers outside meal times, and full hot meals during breakfast and dinner service.

Two Qantas domestic meals containers on a table.
Qantas domestic meals served on a tray with a drink.
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A Qantas domestic meal table with a box of food and a cup of orange juice.
A box with Qantas domestic meals inside of it.
A business card on a Qantas plane.

However, on the three-hour stretch from Melbourne to Cairns, the offerings from Qantas become unexpectedly modest. A mere snack and a constrained assortment of drinks stand in stark contrast to the airline’s premium stature.

Snacks offered on qantas domestic flight from Melbourne to Cairns
A Qantas domestic meal tray with drink on an airplane.

Thus, when the curtain rises to reveal a performance that’s more penny-pinching than plush, the disappointment is palpable.

A plastic container filled with Qantas domestic meals.

Indeed, when comparing Qantas to airlines in Europe like Aegean Airlines, there appears to be room for Qantas to enhance its in-flight offerings domestically.

Aegean Airlines, proudly standing as one of the last remaining airlines in Europe to graciously provide complimentary hot meals, sets a distinctive example. This distinction underlines the possibility for Qantas to elevate its own in-flight dining service and align with the evolving expectations of passengers, particularly given its premium standing in the airline industry.

Macaroni and cheese on a plane.

Final Boarding Call

While Qantas strives to enhance its catering service to align with its premium branding, there is room for improvement, particularly when benchmarked against other leading airlines’ short and medium-haul offerings. Qantas needs to improve its catering if it wants to truly be a premium carrier.

 

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