Virgin Now Offering Free Food On Australian East Coast Flights

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.


    Flexi Fair have always got a meal thats why you pay for it (and its easyer to move the flight)

    The Velocity Status is new though

      Re Flexi: hence the word "still". Also been the case for higher status flyers for a while.

    Since "Australia" these days only applies to the eastern seaboard, what should we call the rest of this continent? (After all, as Julia Gillard so clearly pointed out last year, the wild west of Australia is Western Sydney...)

      "Australia" isnt the eastern seaboard.. Australia is only Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. if you dont live in those cities companies and politicans dont give a shit about you

        To be perfectly frank, unless a bit of targetted porkbarrelling could buy the gullible voters in a marginal seat, politicians won't give a shit about you even if you are in Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne.

        Votes and Nepotism/Cronyism is what drives this sub-used-car-salesman group of humanity.\

        Unless there is a direct reward for them they don't give a toss.

    Virgin's policy of a free beer or wine is between mainlaind capital cities.
    I find it amazing that on an afternoon flight between Hobart and Sydney you get nothing, yet a shorter flight at the same time from Melbourne to Sydney qualifies you for a free beer. Huh??
    Perhaps Tasmania is no longer part of Australia?

    @thyco, yep spot on... AUS = BSM (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne) all the other cities and towns on the east coast are just places to mine for wealth. Flights between a regional area to any of these three is 2-4 times as expensive as between these, even if the flight fly on a daily basis, not once a week.

    Hmmmmm free meals to high status passengers

    Doesn't say anything here

    And as a platinum member who flys non flexi fares all the time I can safely attest I have never been given a free meal.

    My last flight was yesterday Melbourne to Sydney and I got crackers and cheese light everyone else.

      It's certainly happened for me in the past (when I briefly had Virgin Platinum status), but haven't tested it recently -- so you might well be right about 2014 rules.

    With Virgin's rebranding to position itself as a competitor to Qantas and not Jetstar (with prices to match), introduction of business class, and moves to increase ownership share of Tiger Australia, this makes perfect sense. If people are expected to pay the same as a Qantas flight, they expect Qantas service. Virgin is obviously positioning itself as using Tiger to compete with Jetstar and Virgin to compete with Qantas. That would explain the complimentary beer, as Qantas have the same policy on Cityflier (between capitals) flights after 5pm weekdays. Let's hope Tiger can improve it's service to be at least as reliable as Jetstar.

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