When British Airways introduced buy on board catering to short haul flights in 2017 then CEO Alex Cruz was convinced that it was only a matter of time before its network rivals followed suit.
Four years and a global pandemic later, events have taken an interesting turn.
Whilst Lufthansa is introducing buy on board across its airlines from March 2021, BA has pulled a minor volte face.
Since COVID-19, BA has offered a limited service in short haul economy of complimentary water and a light snack, with no buy on board to limit passenger / crew interaction.
This is now permanent. From Wednesday 20 January 2021, buy on board will be replaced with a fully pre paid service known as “Speedbird Cafe”.
BA will no longer sell M&S branded products. It will continue to offer a range of soft and alcoholic drinks, ambient snacks, as well as some sandwiches designed for the airline by Tom Kerridge. Worry not, the infamous Afternoon Tea box is still available.
After months of speculation and rumour, British Airways has today confirmed it is to introduce Buy On Board catering all U.K. Domestic and EuroTraveller economy routes from 11 January 2017.
The menu will be supplied by Marks & Spencer.
This will replace all complimentary food & drink in these cabins.
Food & drink can only be paid for by debit or credit card or the Executive Club frequent flyer currency Avios via the BA app. Cash will not be accepted.
At present, only cold items are for sale. No hot items will be available for sale.
Food & drink remains complimentary in Club Europe business class and on long-haul flights. In addition, Buy On Board will not be introduced at London City and London Stansted until the summer of 2017. BA also promises to revamp its Ckub Europe catering in the spring of 2017.
We’re fairly sanguine about these changes. Anyone who has flown BA over the years could not fail to notice the diminishing complimentary offer and the inconsistencies between London Heathrow & Gatwick flights.
That said, the removal of complimentary alcoholic drinks and breakfast on early morning flights is unlikely to be popular.
In addition, it is perhaps surprising that BA does not offer complimentary items for passengers travelling on the most expensive fares or those with Silver/Gold frequent flyer status.
You can be confident that customer feedback will be monitored closely and, after the changes are introduced, we would encourage any feedback (positive and negative) to be made known.