This ongoing confusion at VA offering is kind of perplexing itself. From my experience - which is fortnightly on either QF or VA - the following applies on VA...
0-2ish hours = company drink and packet of bubbles (the Snax with Attitude brand is absolutely delicious and seems to be the preferred offering)
2ish hours plus = more substantial offering like a pie or sandwich
East coast to Perth = full meal
Departures 5-7pm = cocktail hour!
So generally, the same as QF, where I've had everything from nada to stale egg sandwiches to pretty decent full meals depending on the route. Yes the Tasman is an oddball but that probably reflects the need to align with the NZ offering given their alliance. Besides it's all available to you at time of booking.
It's a far cry from what QF offers.
0-2ish hours = QF offers full breakfast/lunch/dinner even on 1h hop between SYD-CBR (so long as the flight is operated by 717 or 737). Not to mention the golden triangle routes SYD-MEL-BNE-SYD. If it's not meal time, admittedly I haven't been onto a shoulder period flight for quite a while but last time I flew them they offer a huge piece of cookie and muffin and all those tea, coffee, soft drinks etc. VA? Nothing, not even free soft drinks. (which QF does offer).
2+hr flights = QF still offers all those above.
East coast to Perth = Same as the above.
All of these are based on Y class experience. IMHO QF has a far better alignment on what you are going to expect onboard. If it's meal time, you know you're gonna get a meal, no matter how long is the flight. And if you're not full enough with one serve on QF, just ask for another one as long as the flight haven't started descending. Yes they do charge for alcohol, but I personally don't think I would need some alcohol for such short a flight (PER excluded) so I don't find this an issue.
Weird. My latest morning peak QF MEL-CBR was water, juice and a muffin. My evening peak CBR- SYD was cocktail but the "food" was an inedible egg sandwich that even the crew apologised for. The evening peak SYD-MEL was a widely discarded mini wrap thingy and yes, plentiful drinks. My last MEL-PER-MEL on QF was about 8 months ago but that was a similar food offering to subsequent Virgin ones - a "meal".
But this the complaints on here have been about consistency of service offering on VA, not what's actually offered. Ok I'm off with comparable cocktail hours but VA isn't a full service carrier, afterall. And in my experience, the offering on VA is pretty consistent and often on a par with QF. Have I just been unlucky with QF? Or lucky with VA?
I know what I'll get with VA, even if it's not a whole lot. I'm usually more surprised at what QF come up with, though their crew get through the service far faster than VA, I suspect because of buy-on-board, which itself is pretty... consistent.
Disclosure: I fly MEL-SYD twice a month, 2:1 VA: QF. I fly to Canberra every 2-3 months with additional work trips once or twice a year to Mildura, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. All VA or QF. And I'm just not seeing what the fuss is about.
Judging from other's reply with what they've got, I guess you're being the unlucky one
Over the past year I've had:
- A hot chicken wrap (with two more ordered and delivered; quite delicious I have to say) on a MEL-ADL lunchtime flight
- A dinner time BNE-MEL flight that serves Spaghetti
- A yoghurt museli and another one is traditional English breakfast on two MEL-SYD morning flights
- A SYD-MEL evening flight serving salad (can't remember the other choices, but definitely a hot one)
- A SYD-CBR flight departed 1.30pm that offers a huge and tasty beef sandwich
Not to mention the Lindt chocolate and drinks, just like what others have said.
VA? All I've got is a tiny bar for a SYD-MEL dinner flight. And they even offered absolutely nothing to eat for a morning-ish (9am departure) MEL-BNE flight.
I can't say it better than this statement......
The Coachman wrote:
VA is consistent. Consistently inadequate.
That's why if QF's too expensive for my domestic needs these days, I would rather go JQ than VA. At least I know what I paid for instead of overcharging for the services that they don't provide.