British Airways is dropping its long-standing promise of “a complimentary snack or meal and bar service” for all passengers.
As The Independent revealed in May, economy travellers on short-haul flights will instead be offered the chance to buy snacks and drinks.
The new policy comes into effect on 11 January, on almost all flights under five hours to and from Heathrow and Gatwick. Marks & Spencer has been chosen to supply the food, which is priced slightly above High Street prices: a Ploughman’s sandwich that costs £2.25 on the ground is one-third more expensive on BA, at £3. A cup of tea will cost £2.30, and a gin and tonic £6.
Alex Cruz, who became BA’s chairman and chief executive earlier this year, said: “Today’s project is in reaction to customer response around choice and quality. We have been requested by thousands and thousands of passengers who want to have choice, and not just be given something of potentially questionable quality.”
Passengers with existing bookings, who will no longer be entitled to food and drink, are being told it marks an “upgrade” in catering.
But with a bottle of water to be sold for £1.80, and a quarter-bottle of wine for £4.50, they may disagree with that description. Chris Caldwell tweeted: “Interesting use of the term ‘upgrade’ by @British_Airways when applied to its new flight service.”
Buyers can pay with bank cards, or use Avios frequent flyer points at a rate of 125 points to £1.
Airline food across the classes
Airline food across the classes
1/6 Virgin Upper Class
Clockwise from top right: Salted butter, malted wheat and oat roll, glass of Gardet Brut Premiere Cru Champagne
Thai beef salad, seared sirloin beef, dressed with a sweet chilli, lime and ginger dressing and crumbed roasted cashews. Created for Virgin by Lorraine Pascale
Italian buffalo mozzarella, heritage tomatoes and sweet pepper berries, drizzled with Italian extra virgin olive oil and a balsamic glaze
Brioche and butter pudding, served with Madagascan vanilla syrup and double cream
2/6 Virgin Premium Economy
Clockwise from right: Chicken, sweet potato and coconut curry, with coriander rice
Asian slaw salad of carrots, celeriac, sweet chillies and slaw dressing. As well as Jacob's crackers, Croxton Manor Mature Cheddar, 1/4 bottle of wine
Apple & blackberry pudding
3/6 Virgin Economy
Clockwise from bottom right: Slow-cooked beef bourguignon, with rosemary, roasted root veg and mustard mash
Mediterranean orzo salad, dressed in a sun-blushed tomato and roasted pepper dressing
Gü Chocolate Orange. As well as Jacob's crackers, Boursin Garlic & Herbs, 1/4 bottle of wine
4/6 All Nippon Airways first class
Clockwise from top right: Miso soup
Pickles preserved in vinegar Japanese tea
'Koshihikari' brand rice from Nichinan-cho Hino-gun in Tottori Prefecture
Simmered sablefish in soy-based sauce
Seasonal salad with wasabi
Dressed asparagus and konjac with sweet sesame paste
Marinated salmon in piquant-vinegared sauce
Clear soup with a steamed prawn cake
Zensai, 'a selection of morsels' including Japanese omelette and sake-steamed abalone
5/6 All Nippon Airways business class
Clockwise from top right: Assorted pickles
A selection of morsels including dressed bamboo shoot and simmered octopus
Simmered duck and vegetables
Deep-fried sea bream with thick ponzu sauce
6/6 All Nippon Airways economy
Clockwise from top right: A selection of fresh fruit
A selection of traditional appetisers
Seafood curry with steamed rice
Japanese noodle with spring onions, served with soy-based sauce
The move brings BA’s policy into line with its main short-haul competitor, easyJet. Since its inception, easyJet has always charged for food and drink on board.
BA Club Europe passengers will continue to be give free food and drink, as will all long-haul travellers on flights of more than five hours.
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