Robyn Ironside, Courier Mail
Only salads are now freshly prepared by Q-catering for business-class passengers, with the rest of the meals – including toast, scrambled eggs and steak sandwiches – brought in frozen from Qantas-owned Snapfresh and kept in storage for months at a time.
Q-Catering staff unhappy at the drop in standards have blown the whistle on the practice, providing photographs of the pre-packaged meals before they were loaded onto flights.
One employee, who did not want to be named, said Q-Catering previously had to meet high standards of food preparation and presentation but now “lumps of frozen food were simply dumped in china bowls and covered”.
“The use-by dates on the food can be up to 12 months (old), so any suggestion the food is fresh could not be further from the truth,” she said. “These meals are mess-produced and put into big freezers, so I should imagine they’re saving a lot of money.”
“Thy also save money because the people at (supplier) Snapfresh only work Monday to Friday non-penalty shifts.”
Last November Qantas announced “upgrades” to its domestic experience, including aligning the domestic – services menus, by renowned Sydney chef Neil Perry, with those on international business class.
An industry newspaper featuring Neil Perry’s image also promotes the “emphasis on market driven, fresh, time of day appropriate produce”.
However the airline has admitted Snapfresh meals are still used on domestic business and economy class routes – but not in international business class.
“As is common for airlines right around the world, some meals are prepared fresh, are frozen and then heated on the plane ensuring a consistent and premium quality meal regardless of where they are flying from,” a Qantas spokesman said.
“Qantas is internationally renowned for serving high quality, fresh food using the best ingredients and we receive excellent feedback from our business passengers.”
Transport Workers Union Queensland secretary Peter Biagini said passengers were entitled to ask the questions; “Is this the service I am paying thousands of dollars for?”
“Fares are rocketing upwards while standards are spiraling downwards.Qantas has turned the flying kangaroo into the frozen kangaroo. They’re cryovac-ing their brand and whacking it in the big chiller.”
Qantas denied the outsourcing of meals was saving the airline money.
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