British Airways considers yet more charges on European flights

New CEO has low-cost in his DNA

British Airways passengers could be charged for meals on short-haul flights.

It has been widely reported the airline is considering ending its long-held policy of free food and drinks, with food being supplied by a UK supermarket.

New chief executive Alex Cruz took over at British Airways last month after running Spanish budget carrier Vueling. Reports suggest he is looking at the option as a way of turning food and drinks from a cost into a revenue stream.

British Airways is owned by IAG, which also owns Iberia, Iberia Express and Aer Lingus. All of these charge for food and drinks.

British Airways makes a big deal about its free food and drinks in economy in Europe. Its website says:

Even on the shortest flights we offer you a snack and a bar service and on some of the longer flights in Europe you’ll be offered a three course meal. Wherever you’re flying to in Euro Traveller and regardless how long your flight, enjoy a soft drink or a glass of wine with your food.

The reality is that the snack is a biscuit on most flights. Even on a recent four and a half hour flight from Las Palmas to Heathrow there was no meal, just a snack.

The contents of the box
A British Airways euro traveller ‘meal’ on a four and a half hour flight

Cold drinks are usually plentiful and on this LPA-LHR flight it was self-service in economy.

Other charges

British Airways has recently started charging for checked baggage and seat selection so it’s no real surprise that the airline is considering charging for food.

British Airways said the suggestions were just “speculation” but did not deny that the move was being considered.

A British Airways spokesman said:

“We are constantly reviewing every element of the experience our customers receive, including the in-flight catering, to ensure we’re delivering what they want.

“Everything we do is with our customers in mind and we will make changes that reflect their feedback.”

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British Airways (BA)