One of the key distinctions between Qantas and Virgin Australia has been that Qantas offers a free meal or refreshment to all passengers, while on Virgin you had to pay for anything other than tea, coffee or water. But that distinction is beginning to blur, with Virgin now offering "complimentary refreshments" on flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Picture: Getty Images
The recently-revamped policy is explained on Virgin's site:
Guests travelling on flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane receive a complimentary snack and beverage. A limited selection of snacks and beverages may also be available to purchase, subject to availability.
Similar arrangements apply to flights in Western Australia (continuing a policy established by Skywest, which Virgin acquired in 2012).
Flexi fare passengers and higher status Velocity frequent flyers still receive a free meal rather than just a refreshment. On flights to other destinations, you'll have to pay for any food.
On weekday flights between capital cities between 4pm and 7pm, Virgin also offers free beer or wine. Qantas has a similar arrangement.
For short-haul domestic trips, being offered food doesn't really make a massive difference — but hey, we're not going to say no. Bargain carriers Jetstar and Tiger remain resolute in charging for everything that might pass your lips.