British Airways To Charge For Water, Soda, Tea & Coffee + Food Items Effective January 11, 2017

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British Airways today announced what many short-haul economy fliers had been eagerly waiting for. The airline will start charging for all beverage and food items effective on January 11, 2017.

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The fresh food items are Marks & Spenser branded (not sure if actually supplied by them). Consumers that have booked British Airways short-haul flights for travel on or after January 11, 2017, should contact BA customer relations and request refund or Avios compensation due to product downgrade.

You can access BA’s web page for this change here (and see how they are trying to put lipstick on a pig).

Here’s the press release from British Airways:

  • Two great British brands partner to provide Food on the Move for short-haul fliers
  • Airline is acting on feedback and giving customers the choice and quality they’ve asked for.
  • Options selected are M&S customer favourites chosen for their flavour at altitude
  • Everything on the food menu priced at under £5 – ranging from just £1 to £4.95 and customers can pay with Avios
  • Menu choices include vegetarian, gluten free and healthy fresh options plus snacks and comfort foods
  • Bespoke menu options and seasonal changes to be introduced throughout the year
  • First airline to offer leading brand sandwiches, all of which are fortified with added fibre and vitamin D

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British Airways is partnering with another great British brand – Marks & Spencer – to offer customers on short-haul flights the option to purchase a premium food range at 35,000ft.

The new British Airways menu, which will replace the airline’s current complimentary snacks, will include items from the M&S Food on the Move selection and will be available in the economy cabin on short-haul and domestic flights from Heathrow and Gatwick from January 11, 2017, and from London City and London Stansted by summer 2017.

The collaboration follows extensive customer research and feedback, which highlighted dissatisfaction with the airline’s current short-haul economy catering, and found fliers want more choices that reflect what they would normally select when out and about.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “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.

“We will also enable travellers to be able to use their Avios, the points they earn as an Executive Club member, to purchase meals. We know they’re always looking for ways to use their Avios and this is a great option for them.”

Andy Adcock, director of food at Marks & Spencer, said: “We’re proud to be supplying a great British brand with a reputation for quality and customer service that mirrors our own. For 35 years we’ve had a market leading Food on the Move offer and we’ll supply British Airways with customer favourites and healthy choices made with outstanding ingredients, all with the provenance you’d expect from M&S.”

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Prices will range from £1 for hand cooked crisps up to £4.95 for a Balanced for You spiced chicken with quinoa and rice salad.

Throughout the year, the aim is to deliver bespoke items designed specifically for British Airways customers by Marks & Spencer.  Elements of the menu will also change on a quarterly basis to reflect the seasons.

Payment will be quick and easy via debit or credit card, including contactless transactions. Customers will also be able to pay with Avios via the BA app or with their Executive Club card.

The range will include a number of great fresh options as well as packaged products that are easy for customers to eat on the flight or take with them for their onward journey.

Breakfast options will include Greek style natural yogurt with summer berry compote and granola (£1.95), classic fruit salad with pineapple, melon, mango, apple, kiwi and blueberries (£3.10). Hot options will be the M&S Café bacon roll with pork from British farmers (£4.75) and a tomato and mozzarella focaccia (£4.75).

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Fresh sandwiches will be available including the Aberdeen Angus beef and red onion chutney bloomer (£4.75) and the classic cheese ploughman’s with nine-month aged farmhouse mature cheddar and vine ripened tomatoes, pickle and mixed salad (£3.00).

The airline will be the first to serve M&S sandwiches fortified with both vitamin D (good for healthy bones and teeth) and added fibre helping customers boost these essential nutrients, providing at least 15 per cent of the daily recommended requirement of Vitamin D. Because of their strong umami flavours, the sandwiches work particularly well at altitude, where taste buds behave differently.

Other snacks will include a nut assortment of almonds, brazil, cashew and hazelnuts (£1.60), wasabi peas (£1.60), salted cashews (£1.60), Oriental snack mix (£2), super fruit, nut and seed flapjacks (£1.45), salt & vinegar and lightly salted hand-cut crisps (both £1).

Confectionery options will include a made without wheat salted caramel hazelnut millionaire bar (£1.45), a grab-bag sized milk chocolate covered popping popcorn and pretzels (£2.45), packs of mini oat biscuits (£1.10), Swiss milk chocolate mountain bars (£1.70), the famous Percy Pigs (£1.80) and ‘The Whippy One’ (£1).

The airline will also offer customers a full bar service with soft drinks priced from £1.50 and alcoholic drinks from £4.

Club Europe (short-haul business class) customers will continue to be offered a full, complimentary menu, which is also being improved and revamped from spring 2017 as part of the changes to short-haul catering. Further details will be released on the changes nearer the time.

This is the latest in a tranche of updates to the airline’s short-haul services. Since 2014, 95 short-haul aircraft have been revamped with an updated interior, which is proving very popular with customers. Earlier in 2016, British Airways also simplified its short-haul fares to just three options: Basic, Plus and Plus Flex. Customers purchasing a ‘Plus’ fare benefit in particular, thanks to the additional flexibility of being able to change their flight on the day of travel for free – an option that wasn’t available on the previous standard fare.

Conclusion

The airline is obviously bringing the same concept that the current CEO of British Airways had on Vueling (Spanish LCC).

Why would any economy passenger choose British Airways on long-haul connecting itineraries where they must pay even for water when they can fly on full service airlines such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar (if going east)? These short-haul flights can be up to four hours long.

I believe that it is a sad say when supposedly full service airlines’ passengers must pay for water or any non-alcoholic drink.

This is good option for those that have BA ticketed flights for travel on/or after January 11, 2017, that they no longer need to request a full refund. Just contact British Airways customer relations for refund request.

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