British Airways is to start charging for food and drinks on short haul flights up to five hours from 11 January 2017.
The airline announced it will scrap free food and drink on its short-haul flights and instead offer passengers the opportunity to buy snacks and sandwiches provided by Marks & Spencer.
The charges will start on flights in and out of Heathrow and Gatwick from January 11 2017.
London City and Stansted will follow by summer 2017.
The airline says it is introducing the charges following extensive customer research and feedback. This highlighted dissatisfaction with the airline’s current short-haul economy catering, and found passengers want more choices that reflect what they would normally select when out and about.
Passengers will not be able to pay with cash. Payment will be by debit or credit card or AVIOS points.
One of the effects of this move will quite simply mean more passengers taking their own food onboard.
Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO:
“We know our customers expect a great experience with British Airways. They’ve told us we are experts in flying and service, but when it comes to catering on short-haul flights, they want to choose from a wider range of premium products. Like British Airways, Marks & Spencer is a well-known, premium British brand that is respected and trusted, so it’s an ideal partnership, providing our customers with a choice of products they recognise and value.”
“I firmly believe what we are delivering breaks the mould and sets a new standard in short-haul catering. We will be providing a selection of premium brand, fresh food options and a menu that will be refreshed on a quarterly basis.”
Mr Cruz was brought into BA in April 2016 from Spanish no-frills carrier Vueling.
It was inevitable that under Mr Cruz BA would start charging for most services.
Now one of the world’s best airlines charges for baggage, seat selection, ‘enhanced’ meals in economy on long-haul. And from next year they are even going to charge for water.
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.
N.B. Image credit: British Airways