Virgin Australia served instant cup noodles, a granola bar and a can of soft drink to business class passengers who paid thousands of dollars to fly the service.
The two-course inflight catering meal consisting of beverage for starters and carbohydrates for mains was for a four-hour trip from Perth to Brisbane, which can cost up to around A$1,800 (S$1,726) one-way for a business class ticket.
Naturally, the culinary experience left a bad taste in passengers' mouths.
One business class passenger expressed disappointment on Twitter, writing in a post: “It was a lunch time flight. I was hungry and expected to have a reasonable lunch.”
“To my disappointment I got offered a Fantastic noodle cup. These are 80 cents in Coles. This is unacceptable for the price I paid.”
Virgin Australia replied
In a direct Twitter reply, the airline said it had “simplified” inflight catering due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the customer was not buying it.
In a reply to Virgin Australia, the customer wrote back: “Simplified! More like not bothering! I have flown with many airlines during Covid and I have still had either a fresh sandwich, fruit, or a hot pie,” they wrote.
“This is in economy with other airlines. Not business class. It was a can't be bothered token gesture. Nothing would of been better.”
Another passenger shared an image of a similar in-flight experience, with the same instant noodles cup along with a red wine and some water.
The caption said: “So this is Virgin’s version of business class fare..... good flight, but????”
Another complaint that labelled the meal a two-course offering said: “Two course offering on VA today: Course 1 - Red Wine, Coke no sugar and Snack Bar, Course 2 - Fantastic noodles.”
But business class passengers were reportedly having it better.
Economy passengers reportedly are permitted a granola bar, but only if they ask for it.
Virgin Australia said in a separate statement that these meals are a way of limiting interactions between crew and passengers.
A spokesperson said: “The safety and wellbeing of our guests is always our top priority and we have a variety of safety measures throughout our customer journey to minimise risks associated with Covid-19, including a limited service onboard.”
“This service includes a snack and drink for all guests across both cabins, and is designed to minimise contact between guests and crew."
“As travel demand begins to increase we are exploring the possibilities for our onboard Business Class offering, whilst continuing to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of our guests and crew. We look forward to providing this limited Business Class offering to our guests soon."
“We are also re-imagining what our onboard catering offer will be longer-term, and are looking forward to developing a new experience to suit customer needs.”
Top photo via