Qantas brings pre-flight meal ordering to London, Singapore

Qantas brings pre-flight meal ordering to London, Singapore

Qantas is extending its pre-flight service which lets international travellers choose their inflight meals online, before they even step on the plane.

Already available on flights from the USA to Australia, the 'Select on Q-Eat' service launches this week on flights between Australia, London and Dubai as well as flights from Singapore to Australia.

The online menu includes several Neil Perry Rockpool-designed dishes which are available only when you order in advance, so you can enjoy a little extra variety compared to choosing from the inflight menu, and is available up to 24 hours prior to departure.

Qantas is pitching the continued roll-out of the scheme as complementing its International Business Class sleep service to give travellers "more control over their journey and the ability to maximise their sleep on board."

"Customers can also advise via Select on Q–Eat if they would like to skip the meal service, so cabin crew know they want to go to sleep straightaway" the airline says.

"A range of refreshment options will continue to be available at any time throughout the flight."

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David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

24 comments

  • AusFlyer

    AusFlyer

    21 May, 2013 01:57 pm

    On my recent trip from Singapore on Qantas, I was asked when I went to the lounge if I would like them to advise the cabin crew to immediately set up the sleep service after take off or if I would like to have dinner on board, which I thought was great customer service. I have definitely seen a marked improvement with Qantas, particularly with their inflight service on international flights which is great. I haven't been able to fault them on the numerous flights I have taken with them this year.

    I might give this service a try when I fly from there again in a couple of months.

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  • Waynec

    Waynec

    22 May, 2013 11:48 am

    Have to agree with you. The service on Qantas is getting better nowadays. They are seriously upping their game to bring on their competitors.

    The service I received onboard recently were faultless. Looks like their efforts to retrain staff paid off. Gone were the days of grumpy and disgruntled staff onboard Qantas.

    Select on Q is a good imitative as it allows travellers to choose what to eat beforehand and allows Qantas to cut down on over catering which is both costly and wasteful. So it's kind of a win-win situation for both the airline and the passengers. Would be even better if the expanded their menu to include more options.

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  • KG

    KG

    21 May, 2013 04:25 pm

    Great to hear that QF is improving their service, which was already very good in my opinion if compared to other carriers. However, I flew them in F this year from SYD-SIN-LHR but actually noticed they cut down on the elaborate degustation menu! Apparently this is only available on LAX flights nowadays, which is disappointing. Wonder if the DXB stretch does get the full treatment (flew them half March). Is this Q-Eat service available for F class passengers as well?

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  • aero-seat

    aero-seat

    21 May, 2013 04:55 pm

    This would be realy good to spice up the transcontinental competition between Virgin Australia and Qantas. The Red Kangaroo already has this technology in place, I mean how hard can it be implementing this on domestic services.

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  • PLATY

    PLATY

    21 May, 2013 06:48 pm

    Interesting and potentially laudable development.....however...perhaps some qualifying questions need to be considered

    -is the extent of choice for those ordering in flight remaining the same (or being quietly reduced) in other wordss is the pre-order a genuine increase in choice?

    - is it really appropriate for somebody paying big bucks ($15,000 to UK for example) to be treated to a lesser level of service if they elect to order on board (less choice)?

    IMHO it is good to enable pre-ordering since there is potential win-win for both passenger and airline, BUT to then take the next step and penalise the pre-ordering customer is a bit rich given the big bucks for the flight...

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  • Poisson

    Poisson

    21 May, 2013 07:45 pm

    I suspect (without really knowing) that the pre-order allows the preparation of more specialist or elaborate meals which require more time and/or attention than the standard meal on board. Thus a wider choice of pre-ordering seems reasonable, and not any sort of penalty.

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  • PLATY

    PLATY

    21 May, 2013 07:53 pm

    ....thus further increasing the differential...

     

    ...You make a good point, but one that is ultimately illogical...if the meal is preparable then it is theoretically equally able to be prepared whether you order on your $15,000 flight before the flight or during it...surely...

    ...now if you had said it saves QF money to know what passengers wanted to eat before hand and therefore QF would invest a little more for the pre-ordering passenger...

    ...either way the passenger who orders on board gets a lesser deal for the same amount paid

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  • KG

    KG

    21 May, 2013 08:03 pm

    I tend to agree with the reservations PLATY has, because in the end why does QF (or any other airline) introduce re-order? To reduce meals taken onboard, thus saving money in the end. Eager to see what choices are available online and wether they are genuinly better or of the same quality. As an example, when I fly TG in F I always order Lobster Thermidor, delicious. When i look at the onboard menu I am often not impressed (ok, caviar washed down with Dom Perignon is still available, but the mains are often a bit "bleh"). Does QF offer more exquisite choices when ordred online?

    I am eager to see what happens to choice onboard when not having pre-ordered, is there less choice, is the quality noticably different? Having said this I have never had an issue with F catering in business or First and have always gotten my first choice (and I believe they do not ask high status flyers first and then follow down the pecking order).

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  • AusFlyer

    AusFlyer

    22 May, 2013 01:29 pm

    You could say that is the case with Singapore Airlines then as the meals that you can pre-order on their flights are more elaborate and have more options than the on board dining option. However, in my experience, the meals, whether pre-ordered or not, are of a high standard when it comes to airline food. So is it really that much of a big deal? Not really... If you are worried about it then make sure you pre-order.

    Personally I rather eat in the First Class lounge at Sydney airport or in the new Singapore lounge and skip the onboard meal altogether!

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  • KG

    KG

    22 May, 2013 02:36 pm

    I agree that the food in QF First lounge is superb and better than served onboard, obviously. However, I like to have an elaborate meal as it is timepass for me and sleeping with a full stomach is easier (although not necessarily healthy!).

    In terms of high standard yes the none pre-ordered meals are of high standard as well, but I still love airlines where you can pre-order especially if they have some "meal of the month" kind of thing, which is normally seasonal produce and of outstanding quality.

    All in all I agree that airline meals are very good nowadays as they have better ways to prepare and conserve them on the ground and the galley equipment onboard (steam ovens) make for a better experience. Must say however when you see pictures of the good old Pan Am days, when they would carve Chateaubriand at your seat straight from the cart......where have those days gone???

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  • AusFlyer

    AusFlyer

    22 May, 2013 02:42 pm

    Ha... I remember flying on CX First Class way back when (when I was quite young!) and having Beluga Caviar served as the entree and then having beef carved at your seat for main. The seats may not have been as good then but it exuded exclusivity and elegance in those days!

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  • KG

    KG

    22 May, 2013 02:49 pm

    Clearly I was born in the wrong era.....so jealous of you now! The only regret I have in life in terms of flying, ok, next to not having flown Concorde!

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  • AusFlyer

    AusFlyer

    22 May, 2013 01:34 pm

    and anyway... It seems to be a no win for some people. An airline introduces something to provide better service and provide more options for travellers and someone out there has to find reason to make it a negative. It is what it is... Why not just enjoy it rather than trying to poke holes in it! There's just no pleasing some people.

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  • PLATY

    PLATY

    22 May, 2013 05:33 pm

    AusFly your comments are bordering on the personal, which is unfortunate because you make good points about eating well in the F lounge before a flight and rightly question why any of this matters really anyway.

    Please respect that others have their point of view and associated reasons and implying an endemic negatvity about someone extols neither a relevant viewpoint nor a validation of your position, not to mention borders on insult.

    IF you read my posts I clearly state the initiative by QF was laudable, but only if it did not lessen existing in flight choices!

    Personally, I have been on QF flights when they ran out of basics, in fact 3 out of 6 flights over Christmas. Also they reduced the quality of domestic business food over the holiday - now having paid big bucks for business I feel it reasonable to recieve (1) service as advertised (2) consistency across passengers and flights and yes have an issue when they deliberately lower service levels. Hardly unreasonable given the amount paid for the service.

    I enjoy flying and the service levels immensely (most of the time), but do get frustrated when any service is below par when I personally have paid lots of cash. My experience has taught me to be wary of QF and their "enhancements".

    Personally, I would not support a two-tier service level, but would no doubt happily guzzle down whatever was on offer, especially if there's some their mighty fine red as a cleanser.

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  • AusFlyer

    AusFlyer

    23 May, 2013 12:48 pm

    My apologies if you took my comment as being personal as that is not the intention.

    My point is that so often on these forums, you hear people complain that airlines don't do enough or that something or another is not sufficient. Yet when a new initiative is considered, they also get shot down before they have been given a go.

    I have no problem if the complainant is providing their point of view based on experiencing the intiative. My problem is with people who have "what if" complaints when they haven't actually tried the initiative and are only commenting based on what they think and not fact.

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  • PLATY

    PLATY

    23 May, 2013 05:19 pm

    Fair enough AusFlyer and apology gratefully appreciated....please consider that in my original post I said that qualifying questions needed to be asked before making a conclusion - in other words more facts would be needed...in the latter we are in agreement...

    ...my percpetions are also based on extensive experience which is my immediate factual base....

    ..I'm sure many will enjoy the pre-order facility!

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    24 May, 2013 05:21 pm

    I agree that you sometimes get people commenting on what they haven't personally experienced in these forums, but I'm wary of making "sacred cows" either. As it is, sometimes you get people alleging you are "tearing down an Australia icon" or something similar for simply sharing your observations about a flight or flights (that sort of censorship to spare nationalistic pride seems rather nonsensical to me - what matters is whether you got what you paid for, not that jingoistic protectionism is saved lol). 

    I think it inevitable that some people will have good experience, or good opinions, about particular airlines and others bad experiences, or bad opinions, about others. What I do hope is that those who express those opinions or experiences here do so in the context of some reasonable first hand experience of said airline, so at least there is some merit and context to support such comments as reasonable. And furthermore, when people debate such views, that they do so in a reasonable rational manner - and not resort to put-downs, ridiculous hysterics, or cheap poison the well tactics. It's a forum, not a playground, after all lol. 

    But yes, agree wholeheartedly with you that common sense prevails :-)

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    24 May, 2013 05:03 pm

    Now that is an interesting idea PLATY! Getting to know pax likes and dislikes, so meals offered can better match individual preferences. I'm surprised airlines really haven't data mined customers yet, not in any individualised sense. If Four Seasons can do this, I'm sure an airline can.

    Imagine your favourite drink being offered to you shortly after boarding, and a menu personalised to your tastes to select from. That definately would be nice!

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  • PLATY

    PLATY

    24 May, 2013 07:12 pm

    Interesting idea indeed. Just left a Hilton lounge where they remembered me and my preferred evening tipple. A little customer recognition goes a long way...and, yes, easily outweighs the minutiae of the meal or drink at hand...

    ...I recall one recent QF flight where they asked me about my recent Xmas trip to BME..apparently some note added to the manifest at least to give the crew a point of converstion to personalise the experise...nice idea...

    ...that said generally, and definitely since reaching PlatinumOne the QF crews have been exceptional...and in cases where catering has been lacking crews have more than made up for the slightly negative experience...

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  • driley28

    driley28

    21 May, 2013 10:53 pm

    I agree they should introduce this on the trans-continental flights and in first class as well.  Flying first to LAX in July.

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  • highflyer

    highflyer

    22 May, 2013 03:55 pm

    I actually enjoy being presented with Options to choose from in Person.  It's sort of hard to engage what you will actually want to eat on the flight.  Cathay bring all their choices up and you get a good selection to choose from, which i like, because sometimes things look more appetizing when presented in front of you.  Pictures online can be decieving as to what you are actually going to get.  It will be dissapointing if you think you're going to get a good meal from online pictures, and the meal presented is something quite different.

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    24 May, 2013 07:46 pm

    Hi highflyer, I'm with you. I had the option on Singapore Airlines to Book The Cook but I decided to forgo certainty to see what fate might provide (if only to assess what the typical experience is). Plus, as you say, what you feel in the mood for weeks or months before you fly might change significantly come boarding. I'm inclined to favour choice on-board rather than lock it all down - I don't think I lose out really, forgoing such things.

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    23 May, 2013 07:49 pm

    While I appreciate airlines making an effort to improve choice and quality, it seems silly to get too caught up with it all. Due to cabin, not to mention ticket price(!), nothing is ever going to beat a quality meal (and drinks) on the ground. 

    As long as you get a nice meal, large enough to sate your hunger (and thirst), its never going to be a critical factor when choosing who you fly with. Certainly not worth the argy-bargy here.

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  • PLATY

    PLATY

    24 May, 2013 07:14 pm

    In reality, so much to enjoy as a frequent traveller,...so little time!!!

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