Virgin Gets Rid of Free Onboard Snacks to Make Flights Cheaper


Would you be willing to give up free airplane meals for cheaper flights? Virgin thinks yes.

As of this week, the airline is moving to a full buy onboard menu, with the promise of cheaper tickets as a result. Don’t worry, you’ll still get free coffee, tea and water, but all of the food offerings will need to be purchased. 

It’s important to note that if you bought a Virgin flight before March 25, 2021, you can receive a complimentary snack on request. 

Virgin’s new in-flight economy menu has also re-launched with a limited range of drinks and snacks, but the airline will introduce more items “later in the year when travel demand is expected to resume near the pre-covid levels”. 

Until then, passengers who don’t wish to buy from the menu on longer flights will be advised to do some food and drink shopping before boarding the plane, for a BYO snacks situation on board. 

“By removing snacks that aren’t valued by our guests we’re able to structurally reduce airfares, making it even cheaper to fly,” suggests Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka.

“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 onboard as well.”

To be honest, we’re here for it. Will we even miss those economy packets of nuts and chip ‘n’ dip? If getting rid of complimentary catering means cheaper flights, it’s a sacrifice worth taking. 

Especially with the offering on the new onboard menu being somewhat limited. The most substantial item is gluten-free ‘gourmet’ instant noodles, costing $7.50 onboard, and probably about $3.50 at a 7/11. And let’s not forget about #NoodleGate, the online uproar surrounding Virgin’s decision to serve cup noodles as business class meals. 

As for drinks, you can get a $3.50 hot chocolate, $9 beer and $12 wines. If you want to see more, you can download the new menu here

Business-class passengers will still be served food as part of the fare, with some refreshed menu items created in collaboration with chef Luke Mangan including smashed avocado toast, pumpkin and prosciutto salad, and lamb and rosemary pie.

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