BA 'plans to charge' for in-flight food on economy short-haul flights

Tries to compete with low-cost carriers

new york   january 6  a boeing ...

British Airways is reportedly planning to start charging passengers for sandwiches and snacks on short-haul flights, after striking a deal with Marks & Spencer.

While the airline's budget rivals such as Ryanair and easyJet keep headline prices low by charging for extras, British Airways has always provided free food and drink on board its flights - until now.

According to the Mail on Sunday, it has struck a deal with Marks & Spencer to supply an upmarket range of sandwiches and snacks for which economy passengers will have to pay.

Long haul, business and first class passengers will continue to be given complimentary meals.

BA has been steadily moving towards a more low-cost business model for some time, introducing 'no-frills' fares, with extra charges for checked luggage and seat selection, in 2013.

And last month, it made another set of cuts to its food service by announcing it would no longer provide two meals to economy travellers on flights under eight and a half hours.

At the time, a BA spokesman said: "We regularly review our catering to ensure we are investing where it matters most to our customers."

The airline is already coming in for criticism about the planned move.

"I think it is going to be very difficult for passengers to swallow the fact that they are going to have to pay for food after it has been free for so long," Nik Loukas, who runs the Inflight Feed website, tells the Mail.

"There will probably be a big backlash. British Airways has always had a tradition summed up in their slogan "To fly, to serve". I think they will have a battle on their hands."

The change hasn't been announced yet, so any travellers who have already booked their flights will still get complimentary food as per their contract.

Interestingly, though, some people making new bookings will get their free food - and others may not. BSA is trialling a new website, Beta, and Business Traveller magazine has spotted that the terms here are slightly different.

Anybody booking an economy ticket through the old website is told that the price includes 'complimentary onboard food and bar service' - but that line is missing on the new Beta site.

Book here, and you should be okay.


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