QANTAS, Stepping up to the Plate

In an age of discount airlines, excess baggage and CASA license revocations, one airline is brave enough to still provide food with their tickets. If you’re (un)fortunate enough to fly QANTAS, the John Travolta endorsed flying Red Roo on a long enough Domestic flight at the right time, they’ll serve you a meal. With a free alcoholic drink.

My flight today from Brisbane to Melbourne (QF631), departing 4:55, usually takes about two hours and is long enough for a meal and coffee run. Sitting back in row 8A is a little cramped, but luckily I had no one sitting next to me.  Being an older aircraft, like a lot of the QANTAS fleet, the decor has a slightly dated mid 90s look which makes every bite of whatever you’re eating that little more exciting. Service quality varies dramatically. Sometimes the staff are fun and friendly, while at other times they want to be there less than you do. Today fell into the latter category; almost thrown my food tray with no explanation of its contents was a little off putting. Plating was fairly QANTAS generic, with a spartanly presented tray with a water bottle, chocolate, bread roll, butter and a miscellaneous “hot-dish”. Changes QANTAS made to the tray earlier in the year have made it impossible to pick up the “hot-dish” without scolding your fingers. Due to my height (and girth) I’ve found trying to eat it on the tray table always ends with me dropping most of it on my shirt, which isn’t ideal.

QF631 Boarding (8/7)

The Coq Au Vin, containing Eggs & Milk, was luckily identifiable by the handy label they’d printed on the cover. Opening up the container revealed the beans, potatoes and chicken elegantly separated into thirds. The potatoes were the standout, mainly because they tasted like potatoes. The chicken, although a little heavy on the wine, wasn’t bad for something served 32 000 feet in the air inside a flying metal tube. They could have removed more of the skin, and made it look like they hadn’t cut it up with a food processor, but it was by no means the worst thing I’ve eaten on a plane. The beans tasted not dissimilar to that grass in your backyard your cousin made you eat when you were 6. Or maybe that was just my cousin? I don’t know how much of the $400 odd dollars ticket price went into the meal, but I suspect it wasn’t a lot.

QANTAS Meal Service

I washed the meal down with a 2011 vintage Appletiser, a sparkling Non alcoholic apple cider made by Coca Cola Amatil. It’s not as good as Cascade’s Applr Isle, but I feel that’s got to do with it being served from a can. Next was the bread roll, which I smothered to death with the entire packet of butter. The bread roll in any meal is an easy win, it’s not hard to get the bread roll right, but I feel that the QANTAS catering has a bit to learn. Unnecessarily difficult to break apart, the bread was cold and unsatisfying. A Cadbury chocolate bar, with two pieces, at least makes you quickly forget about the bread roll.

Coq Au Vin

Today’s meal captured exactly how I feel towards flying in general; wearily grateful in the knowledge that it could have been so much worse.

QANTAS Magazine July

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