How do you host a dinner party for more than 400 people in the sky?

Published on 8th September 2016 at 8:59

Not just plain food: Onboard we serve more than 1000 dishes during a long haul flight

On a typical flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles, Qantas Catering will source, sort and allocate more than 44,000 items.

Everything from cutlery and coffee bags to fine china and first aid kits are prepared and stored on the aircraft – and that’s not even including our passengers’ bags.

All of these items are kept organised and stored within 440 different stowage locations across the aircraft.

Each stow (as the crew call them) has a unique number that matches up with what needs to be stored inside. So, just like your grandmother used to say, there’s a place for everything and everything in its place.

It’s obviously necessary that everything is stored securely – just in case there’s any unexpected turbulence.

Once everything is loaded onto the plane, our cabin crew will check that everything needed for the flight is onboard and then customers will be invited to take their seats.

On our larger aircraft there can be up to 21 cabin crew whose main job is to ensure your safety and of course comfort when flying with us.


Boss onboard: You can tell the leader of the cabin crew by the red scarf worn by women or the red tie for men

On the QF 94 which operates between Melbourne and Los Angeles, more than 1000 dishes will be served across four different passenger classes.

It’s the job of the Customer Service Manager (CSM*) or boss of the cabin crew onboard to ensure everything runs smoothly.

The CSM is supported by the Customer Service Supervisor (CSS*) – who is the second in charge and takes care of the economy cabin.

Heating meals in multiple ovens across several galleys, filling 85 carts and attending to the needs of 484 passengers is all in a day’s or night’s work for the team.

So while we might get nervous with the thought of hosting a special family dinner at home, our crew take serving a dinner party to more than 400 passengers in their stride.

To get more of an insight into how it all happens at 40,000 feet, we had a chat with Qantas International CSM Janek Picheta.

*To learn more airline abbreviations and Aviationese click here.