BA removing free meal & drinks on Short Haul EU flights (5 hrs and less)

13 replies


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 12 Jul 2014

Total posts 79

Some of you may be aware, but BA have recently inked a deal with M&S to provide User pays meals and drinks on all EU short haul flights from January next year.

Curious to see what other AusBT folks think? I am a bit annoyed, but because of the maintaining and building of my Lifetime SC, I will keep flying with BA, but may either look to Business class only, or take food / drink from the lounge with me. I must say, I think any flight over 3 hours without food or drink, especially on an airline claiming to be premium, is a bit rich.

Oh well, BA: To Fly, To Serve........ wait what?


Turkish Airlines - Miles & Smiles

Member since 08 Jun 2014

Total posts 90

How many hours is Short Haul?

I'm not bothered... it's why we have options to fly other airlines!


Member since 13 May 2016

Total posts 54

Is this economy class only or business as well ?

Last editedby Chris C. at Oct 02, 2016, 05:14 PM.

Doubleplatinum Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

Member since 07 Feb 2013

Total posts 431

Is this economy class only or business as well ?

Economy only

Last editedby Chris C. at Oct 02, 2016, 05:15 PM.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 11 Oct 2014

Total posts 412

I'm not arguing the toss on BoB and a soggy sambo, but rather the BA philosophy and policy. I personally think that BA could take a potentially large, unexpected revenue hit on this issue.
Quite a lot of 'business' travellers fly Y Class on these short-haul intra EU flights. Ergo, BA's Y loads on such flights are comprised of business flyers (in Y), VFR's  and tourists. With the removal of this Y cabin 'freebie' will we see business travellers in Y remain loyal?

Certainly, BA needs to cut it's overall costs in short haul, but this policy follows that of the US carriers in a race to the bottom - one that is now being universally reversed by AA, UA and DL where the US legacies are beginning to realise that LCC carriers such as JetBlue and Southwest offer an equal or better experience  against the legacy product - for roughly the same fare. The US big 3 are now looking to re-draw the line they set, by gradually improving their Y product ever so slowly. New aircraft, better Y amenities etc.

BA's competition on these short haul EU routes is significant with EasyJet, RyanAir, Wizz, Norwegian etc - all of whom have BoB. Someone at BA obviously thought "hey, we can  convert the free cold sandwich into a revenue model by doing what our competitors do (BoB) by cutting costs and raising profitability".
This whole issue is not about a 'free lunch' - IMHO, it is more about how BA hasn't thought this through. Clearly as a legacy carrier, BA charges a 'premium' for its services compared to its competitors when considering Y fares. There are really only two items that differentiate BA's Y offering from EasyJet, RyanAir et al. - and that is Avios points earning potential and 'free' on-board catering.
Now, to remove the 'free' sandwich/wrap/snack only invites potential customers to compare the actual 'value' bundle offered by BA against its competitors. Given the sizeable fare differences between BA and it's competitors, I suspect that this policy might well be short-lived and quickly reversed. What justification is there for customers to consider BA, when EI (Aer Lingus) is able to offer a similar ie: LHR-FRA flight - with BoB - at a cheaper price? Let alone the 'kings of LCCs' - EasyJet and RyanAir?

As said, the 5 or 6 quid sandwich is not really important .. for shorthaul, many don't care to even consume the existing free product anyway. But what it does do is to invite a re-appraisal of the value proposition - and to pay a 50 pound (or sometimes more) 'differential' for the opportunity to land a handful of rapidy shrinking Avios points makes one think twice. Not an astute policy, IMHO.
Obviously J Class escapes this comparison since the J cabin is not affected and the LCC's do not really compete in this section of the market. Similarly, LHR-ATH or IST escape (in Y) due to their longer stage lengths.
It is interesting that in the past 20 years BA has had the opportunity to 'play' with the LCC model - think the failed GO product of the '90s, the purchase of BMI product, clawing back the Virgin Red routes etc and has never been able to implement LCC successfully. In contrast, legacy QF spawned JQ (no points, BoB, almost a similar price to QF) and DJ has morphed from a LCC to equate QF with it's own Tiger LCC.
Could the new M&S sambo bring down BA's shorthaul model? Only if they let it.

Last editedby kimshep at Oct 03, 2016, 12:24 PM.


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

Member since 30 Nov 2015

Total posts 419

I flew BA Prague/London and the food was nothing special. M&S sandwiches sound grim, I've seen them in packets at the M&S stores.


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 28 Jan 2016

Total posts 11

There's a lot of information in relation to this issue on quite a few other travel blogs.
See here for propaganda from BA about this move

Club Europe (BA's short haul business class) is not affected.

M&S sandwiches are actually generally very good.

What a lot of people are annoyed about is that even if they bought tickets prior to this announcement where food and alcoholic, soft drinks, coffee, tea etc.,  were included, from January 2017 if you fly from LGW or LHR you will get nada, not even a glass of water - unless you pay for it.

Apparently you can request a refund if you bought the ticket prior to the announce and change in BA's business model (which people are arguing is now getting a bit closer to resemble Jet* or Ryan air, Air NZ trans tasman etc & there's less and less to differentiate them).. if you are a BA exec member (which you need an address outside of Australia I think to hold) have 1000 Avios credited to your a/c.

Lets see now if QF follow in BA's shoes...

Last editedby Chris C. at Oct 04, 2016, 09:46 AM.

Tim Saunders

Member since 13 Sep 2016

Total posts 30

For those short flights I don't mind missing a light meal as long as my airfare is less than before when the flight was fully catered. What a lot of people don't realise is that the cost of the meal is almost entirely the 'human' component of supply and handling, no the actual cost of the sandwich or whatever. So BA stands to recover a lot of money by moving to 'buy on board'.

But I think it would be a good bit of status recognition if BAEC Gold and other Oneworld Emerald members such as Qantas Platinum got a free meal.


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

Member since 30 Nov 2015

Total posts 419

BA certainly have painted this as a positive step, their current food on these routes is awful. Spin doctors working overtime.

Last editedby Chris C. at Oct 04, 2016, 09:45 AM.


Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,058

I flew BA Prague/London and the food was nothing special. M&S sandwiches sound grim, I've seen them in packets at the M&S stores.

Nothing beats the comforting taste of a cheese & onion sandwhich. Nothing!


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 08 Sep 2012

Total posts 47

Most customers BA cares about are their top tier frequent fliers - namely oneworld Emerald and Sapphire. They know these people get lounge access and most will be eat there before the flight and perhaps chage their behavior to visit the lounge now that BoB is being introduced. These people won't abandon BA because they enjoy the perks too much (lounge / priority luggage / points etc) none of which they'll get on Easyjet etc.

As for the rest who buy on price alone and aren't frequent flyers - BA doesn't really care about. Plus don't forget that much of BA's short haul customers transit at LHR to connect with BA longhaul. That won't change much. 

To Fly To Serve has become To Fly To Sell


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 15 Dec 2016

Total posts 171

To Buy To Serve (per Runway Girl Network)


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 11 Oct 2014

Total posts 412

Apparently, not only aviation/travel websites are postulating on BA's BoB moves but so is the venerable Forbes. The following article comments on the possible loss of Y passengers unhappy with the BoB move, which has now been implemented. Interesting read. Seems that the article shares / reflects my view (above) about the move not being well-thought out .. and that it may result in a loss of patronage on BA services due to reputational damage.



Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

Member since 01 Sep 2011

Total posts 96

Not only are free drinks, snacks being removed on short haul but ive been informed that if you are travelling PE or Y long haul on BA you are now paying for snacks between meals eg a person was charged 2.90 pounds for an apple SIN-LHR. No longer a full service carrier, BA could now stand for Bull Artists.

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