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Qantas has been forced to backtrack after sparking uproar from passengers after an initial change to its flights.

The move follows the national airline reducing its meal options for domestic travellers in economy on flights under three and a half hours.

This policy was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic but sparked controversy when Qantas last week confirmed it would continue post-Covid.

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was among those who wrote to chief executive Alan Joyce demanding the dietary requirement be catered for.

Qantas seemingly listened to the calls and confirmed vegetarian meals will be available on all domestic flights under three and a half hours.

“As an example, for evening meal service a zucchini and corn fritter could be carried on-board in addition to a chicken and leek pie,” the airline said in a statement.

Qantas customer and founder of DoSomething Jon Dee, who brought the meal situation to national attention, said it was “encouraging” the policy was reverted.

“It made no sense to alienate so many Qantas customers who are vegetarian or who have a requirement for health or religious reasons,” he said.

“Given it’s Australia’s national airline, they should be supplying special meals for anyone who requires it.

“I don’t think Qantas realised how angry customers felt about being denied such a basic thing as a meal.”

Qantas executive manager of product and service Phil Capps added the alteration came following widespread outcry.

“We’ve heard the message loud and clear about having vegetarian offerings on all of our flights and so we’re making that change as a priority,” he said.

“There’s a lot of work happening to get Qantas back to its best and that includes listening to the feedback from our customers as we keep investing in our product and service.”

Other changes by the airline include bringing the time alcohol is served in economy forward on short flights from 5pm to 4pm.

Beer and wine are served on flights longer than two hours from midday.

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