British Airways economy class passengers on short-haul flights will soon have to pay for sandwiches supplied by Marks & Spencer if they want a meal in mid-air. The airline has signed a deal with M&S that will see it replace free meals on flights of less than five hours, joining no-frills rivals such as Ryanair and easyJet in charging for sandwiches, chips and drinks. Previously, economy class passengers could expect a small snack, such as a bacon sandwich, and a complimentary drink.
Why the change? Apparently the it was a response to passengers clamoring for greater choice of upmarket snacks says Alex Cruz, British Airways chief executive. The M&S menu includes some of the retailer’s best-known offerings such as the Aberdeen Angus beef and red onion chutney bloomer and packets of Percy Pig sweets.
Cruz said the menu, which will change with the seasons, “breaks the mould and sets a new standard in short-haul catering”. He added that anyone with the airline’s Avios points, earned as a member of BA’s executive club group, would be able to use them to pay for meals.
While you can argue that charging for better food might be acceptable, there’s no excuse to charge for water, coffee and sodas.
The new menu will start from 11 January next year for passengers flying from Heathrow and Gatwick, while anyone departing from Stansted or London City will still get a snack free of charge until summer 2017.