Virgin Australia has confirmed that it will serve passengers complimentary food on all flights across its Australian domestic network.
The announcement, made yesterday, sets the seal on Virgin’s transformation from the budget carrier it started out as, into a full-service airline that includes meals, baggage and in-flight entertainment in the ticket price.
The move will pit Virgin even more keenly against Qantas on Australian domestic routes.
“The roll-out of free food and checked baggage to complement our wireless in-flight entertainment, is an important part of our ability to deliver a consistent, premium service across our network,” Virgin Australia chief customer officer, Mark Hassell, stated.
The completion of Virgin Australia’s journey to full-service status will position it well to pursue and win the lucrative corporate and government accounts it is always seeking.
Food and beverage service will depend on the time of day and the length of the flight. Exact details are still pending.
Commenting yesterday on Virgin Australia’s move, seasoned aviation reporter Ben Sandilands wrote in his Plane Talking blog on Crikey.com.au: “This will be a big two contest in which one could conceivably go broke, although that isn’t to predict that either will.
“They will instead fight, and fight and fight, and smart investors will buy shares in airports, or aircraft leasing entities, or terminal retailing opportunities, maybe even bonds, rather than airline stock.”
AirlineRatings.com notes that while customers will be provided with complimentary tea, coffee, juice and water on all flights and wine, beer and soft drinks between 5pm and 7pm Monday to Friday on east coast flights (no set times apply on transcontinental flights) “outside of this, if you want something else to drink it will need to be purchased”.
“In addition to this, the buy-on-board snack menu that offers other food choices and ‘snacks’ will also still be available,” the site notes.
AirlineRatings.com also mentions that Qantas maintains “a slight upper hand” in having blankets and pillows available on all flights.
“Virgin, however, tend to offer a slightly more competitive fare,” it says.
Written by : Peter Needham