We might pass up the dinner delivered at 1am, or the lunchtime snack the hostie hands over during the middle of our favourite movie, but according to Qantas, breakfast seems to be the one meal of the day we really don't like to miss out on while flying.
Qantas head of national product and service delivery Helen Gray says while business people mightn't have time for a proper breakfast at home, it's the one meal they hunger for during a trip.
"We find that many of our customers really do rely on starting their day by eating in our lounges or onboard," she says. "In the lounges we serve a buffet style breakfast so that it's quick and easy for people to eat on the run. Our barista service is also very popular in the mornings with people looking for their first coffee of the day."
Rise and shine
And what's more, just as airline food in general has moved up a notch, with celebrity chefs designing the menus using seasonal ingredients, airlines have also lifted their game when it comes to breakfast.
No more rubbery scrambled eggs reheated in the galley for Qantas business class passengers; nowadays the dish is prepared fresh onboard by the cabin crew, with a choice of smoked salmon or bacon.
Recently, Rockpool's Neil Perry and his team have come up with a couple of new breakfast recipes that will be served down the pointy end on Qantas flights. These include the Huevos Rancheros; Mexican style fried eggs with spicy tomato, red capsicum ragout, soft tortillas and Tabasco.
While for those who prefer a lighter, healthier option, Perry's signature Bircher muesli is offered on domestic flights.
This move towards lighter, healthier dishes was reflected in the new business class menus released by Qantas this week. Highlights include the buffalo mozzarella with smashed broad bean, pea, slow roasted cherry tomato and mint salad. And the steamed white fish of the day with mustard greens, Jiang Xi chili sauce, gai lan and fragrant rice.
"We're seeing a growing element of people who prefer a lighter style dish such as a salad, while they are flying," Gray says. "We were surprised; we thought the men would prefer the hot food and the women would go for the cold options, but that just didn't happen. There were plenty of men who were eating salads, so that will teach us for stereotyping."
Gray says people have grown more adventurous in their approach to food and this is demonstrated in the complexity of the new menus. "We call it 'the Masterchef effect'. Take a salad like this one which comprises chicken, pearl barley, grapes and blue cheese. People will look at that now and realise it's a tasty combination. I'm not so sure that would have happened even ten years ago."