A frequent flyer refused a vegetarian meal on a Qantas flight

Qantas has confirmed that it has changed the way it prepares meals on board flights. Picture/File

Qantas has come under fire for denying appropriate in-flight meals to people with specific dietary requirements.

PlanetArk founder and businessman Jon Dee told NCA NewsWire of his frustrations on a recent flight from Adelaide to Sydney.

After giving a speech on Sunday evening, he flew economy class and was due to land late at night.

Mr Dee, who hadn’t flown much during the pandemic, said he was a gold frequent flyer member, meaning when he had flown with Qantas in the past they automatically brought him a vegetarian option because that was what was stated on his profile.

However, on this flight, he said, when asked about the vegetarian options, he was told it was “chicken pot pie or chicken pot pie”.

He was shocked there was no vegetarian option on the domestic flight and said it ‘beyond belief’.

“If Alan Joyce doesn’t change his decision on this then maybe it’s time for the Qantas board to take it off the menu,” Mr Dee said.

The businessman, who has flown with Qantas for decades and has always served vegetarian meals on all those flights, took to Twitter on Tuesday to express his disappointment.

“I’m on the Adelaide-Sydney flight – I’ve been advised that #Qantas is no longer serving vegetarian food on domestic flights (except Perth),” he tweeted on Sunday.

“The reason I have traveled so much with Qantas is because vegetarian food is always extremely good,” Mr Dee told NCA NewsWire.

“Meals were always good. Today I’m being told on Sunday, ‘Sorry, we don’t have anything for you.’ I was hungry, which made me even angrier.”

When Mr Dee landed at Sydney Airport just after 10 p.m. he was further frustrated to find that all the airport food outlets were closed before his two-hour drive home to the Blues mountains.

He said the “very strange decision” to stop specialist meals for passengers on domestic flights would cost the airline more.

“It’s cheaper to buy vegetarian foods than meat foods,” Mr Dee said.

“Alan Joyce charges a high price for top-notch service, but the food isn’t as good as Virgin or Jetstar.”

Mr Dee, who has flown with Qantas since 1992, said he would give Qantas a few weeks to change its stance before changing allegiance to another airline.

“I’m going to go to Virgin,” Mr. Dee said.

“Personally, if that’s how Qantas treats vegetarians, they won’t get my stuff.”

Virgin Australia contacted Mr Dee via Twitter, reassuring him that his airline was meeting his needs.

“Hi Jon Dee, we can confirm that we have vegetarian options for our Business and Economy customers. If you would like more information, please contact us!” they wrote.

A Qantas spokesperson told news.com.au that during Covid the airline had made some changes to onboard food and service offerings to “simplify service delivery for our crew”.

“We are now offering only one meal/snack option per flight on our shorter flights, such as chicken pot pie or zucchini and onion frittata.

“If the option on a particular flight is not suitable for vegetarians, we try to provide an alternative of a small sweet or savory snack that is vegetarian.”

The spokesperson explained that on longer domestic and international flights, customers can pre-book a range of special meals, including vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options.

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