Is there any duration and/or distance of flight beyond which airlines are legally obliged to feed passengers without charging them for it? If so, what is the limit?

In case jurisdictions matter, I'm flying from Australia to Japan with Jetstar, a presumably Australian airline.

3 Answers 3


I was flying from Singapore to New Zealand (11 hours). Jetstar will not feed you without additional charge. This is company policy. They won't even bring you tea or coffee without charging. In addition, economy class is creepily cold. Bring some warm clothes.

In business class meals included in cost of flight ticked. In economy class you must pre-purchase it.

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    I can confirm that (Singapore - Gold Coast, 8 hours) I'd also recommend to take a cup, there are water dispensers near the toilet doors, and I'm not sure if they give you one.
    – drat
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 11:24
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    There is no law. Airlines can essentially do what they like. I once heard a rumor that some airline wanted to charge for using the WC. Imagine that on a long haul flight Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 12:04
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    That was good old Ryanair in the UK, was a suggestion in a staff competition to find new ways to get money off customers, it was a bit too far, even for them. Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 13:48
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    Actually it was the CEO I heard talking about it, he's also seemingly said a few racy things on twitter, I think he likee to stir up controversy as free publicity. Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 14:25
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    @MarkChapman - yes, and don't forget his "blowjobs for people in first class" comment. Which shows how seriously he takes himself. (He's also said he's underpaid, relative to other airline bosses. But no one else would hire him, so there's nothing he can do.) Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 3:59

No, there is no regulation that obliges airlines to provide free food during the normal operation of flights.

However, in the EU they do have to provide free "meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time" when a flight is delayed by more than two to four hours (depending on the length of the flight).

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    So do railways. In my experience, meals and refreshments might be interpreted widely...
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 13:30
  • The "in the EU they do have to..." part is mostly theoretical, though. In practice (seen at Arlanda 2 years ago), "respectable" airlines like LH will simply cancel all flights for 48 hours and have people stand in line for 6 hours, then try to trick them into accepting that they must come back the next day for "stand by list", and when you refuse try to trick you into missing your flight by purposely telling you a check-in time the next morning which makes it impossible to reach the gate (if you're stupid enough to believe them). All without as much as one bite or a drop of water.
    – Damon
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 13:50
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    <ctd> or KLM putting us in a hotel overnight during a 12 hour delay in London and not supplying vouchers for the hotel bar until after the bar had closed, then giving us vouchers for a breakfast in the hotel but we had to leave the hotel to catch our flight before the restaurant opened.
    – jwenting
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 14:12
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    @jwenting I don't think you can really complain that KLM didn't give you free booze. Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 17:14
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    @DavidRicherby we had been scheduled for an evening flight, were put on a morning flight instead, with no compensation, no food or drinks of any kind provided by the airline. They gave us vouchers they knew in advance we'd not be able to use. They could have given us vouchers for an airport lounge instead for example, which were open for breakfast and there was time once we got there. But instead they gave us vouchers for the hotel restaurant which opened at 7:30 (was even printed on the vouchers) and then told us our bus would pick us up at 6:30...
    – jwenting
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 9:02

The terms and conditions for a Qantas flight I'm on explicitly mentions that JetStar usually doesn't supply food and beverage as an inclusion. This suggests that they aren't merely bluffing about not supplying it:

Jetstar (JQ) & Jetstar Asia (3K) Flights - Onboard Inclusions/Exclusions
Food, beverages and entertainment are not included in most Jetstar fares.

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