Virgin Australia passengers flying from Los Angeles to Australia last week were left starving after the airline failed to provide proper catering for the 15 hour flight. To make matters worse, Virgin failed to advise passengers of the lack of food until everyone was already on board. This meant passengers caught up in the Virgin catering crisis did not even have an opportunity to purchase extra food before their long-haul flight.
The debacle occurred after Virgin suspended its contract with Gate Gourmet, which provides catering services at Los Angeles Airport. Traces of listeria were found at their catering facility. The airline understandably cited concerns over the “health and wellbeing” of passengers as the reason for its decision. The problem is that the catering problems were not communicated to passengers prior to boarding.
According to our member Gazza129, who was a Business class passenger on this flight, Virgin originally decided not to load any food for the long-haul flight. A decision was later made to organise a limited amount of last-minute catering.
The food eventually served to Business class passengers was a far cry from Virgin’s usually excellent celebrity-chef inspired menu. Instead, passengers were served chicken that “looked worse than canned food”, along with rice and a small tub of preserved fruit. Cereal was later served for breakfast. Meanwhile, our member says that Economy class passengers were offered a “cold tuna pot”.
The flight took off late as the crew had to eat at the airport before departing. Our member is extremely frustrated that passengers were not also given this option. Our members agree that Virgin should have notified passengers prior to boarding and issued meal vouchers to passengers without lounge access.
It is understood that passengers are being offered Velocity points or a Virgin Australia credit voucher as compensation.
The catering problems at Los Angeles have affected several other airlines. American Airlines has also stopped accepting food from Gate Gourmet, citing concerns over food safety.
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