Virgin Australia business class customers fume after being served two-minute noodles

The airline is blaming COVID-19 for its low-budget food offerings.
The airline is blaming COVID-19 for its low-budget food offerings. Photo credit: Facebook

Virgin Australia has been on the receiving end of intense criticism as the airline goes through a turbulent change of ownership process.

Moods reached boiling point for some this week as business class passengers complained on social media about receiving packets of two-minute noodles after forking out thousands of dollars for their fares. 

A spokesperson for Virgin Australia told the West Australian that business class travellers have the option of noodles and a granola bar, whereas in economy passengers only receive a granola bar - and only if they ask for one. The changes, the spokesperson said, were due to COVID-19.

But they're being labelled as "appalling" and "unacceptable" by people on social media, including a Twitter user who says his airfare cost AU$2500.

"This service includes a snack and drink for all guests across both cabins, and is designed to minimise contact between guests and crew," the Virgin Australia spokesperson said.

"As travel demand begins to increase we are exploring the possibilities for our on board business class offering, whilst continuing to prioritise the safety and well being of our guests and crew.

"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."

However there is doubt as to whether the airline's premium offerings will return even after COVID-19. Virgin Australia was recently bought by Bain Capital for AU$3.5 billion and the US-based company has been swinging the axe, according to leaked internal memos.

The Daily Mail reports that staff were told in a memo of "limited snacks in the supply chain" and that "stock will be exhausted in the coming weeks".

The airline's fridges were also empty of wine and Coca-Cola, and alcohol will not be restocked, according to the memo.

The signs of potential cutbacks come after the Queensland government signed a AU$200 million investment agreement with Virgin Australia to keep the company based in Brisbane.

West Business has reported Virgin Australia's new owners plan to "down market" the airline, with former Jetstar boss Jayne Hrdkicka expected to replace Paul Scurrah as the company's chief executive.