Bits: British Airways launching buy-on-board?, Etihad 30% discount code, Concorde memorabilia

(EDIT: Etihad codes now fixed!)

News in brief:

British Airways believed to be launching buy-on-board catering in 2017

There are a steady stream of rumours at the moment that British Airways is poised to announce the launch of buy-on-board short-haul catering from early 2017.

My understanding is that cabin crew are currently being invited to meetings at the Waterside headquarters building where the new policy is being outlined.  They are being required to sign confidentiality agreements before entering.  (This could all be nonsense, you understand. I am just repeating what I hear.)

My personal view is that – as the company clearly refuses to invest any money in short-haul catering and is currently giving Euro Traveller customers no option except to starve (assuming you don’t count a mini bag of crisps as a meal) – it is probably for the best.  The good news is that you will be able to pay with Avios, apparently.

A bigger issue is what happens to all the people who have booked flights for 2017 and are expecting free snacks.   The mini bags of crisps may continue to be free for a year.

It would be interesting to see if they remove free drinks as well.  Many employers do not allow their staff to reclaim expenditure on alcohol for personal consumption, and having to switch from a free G&T to an overpriced, not reclaimable, BA G&T may be the final straw for some.

If you work for Gate Retail Onboard, Alpha LSG, Gate Gourmet or even BA cabin crew and have any insights, please drop me an email at raffles at headforpoints.co.uk

Etihad A380

30% discount code for Etihad business and economy flights

Etihad has released two new discount codes which are valid for flights from the UK booked before Monday evening.  These give a 30% discount on fares before taxes.

STFBUS will get you 30% off the base fare on flights with outbound travel before 23rd November and return travel before 30th November.  There are no black out dates.

STFECO gives a similar discount on economy tickets, although the saving is less impressive because the base fare is a far smaller percentage of the total cost in this cabin.

You can book on the Etihad website here.

concorde-memorabilia

Concorde and Airbus memorabilia auction

Finally, a reader sent me a link to this fascinating auction of Concorde and Airbus memorabilia which is taking place in Toulouse in early November.

My French isn’t good enough to tell if they accept ‘bidder not present’ bids or not, but just looking at the items on offer is fascinating.

£750 of bonus points for 25 Hyatt nights and 500 points (worth £5+) for every app booking
My review of the InterContinental Vienna and where to find the best breakfast in town!
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Comments

  1. OT. I’m sure I read on here the other day about getting priority pass with a discount and for 15 rather than 12 months. I’m planning on getting one for my mother but for the life of me I can’t find the article on it or the comment on it in a comments section under another recent article!

  2. Hello everyone,

    The auction for Airbus and Concorde memorabilia accepts the ‘bidders not present’.
    You can either fill in the absentee bid (http://www.marclabarbe.com/en/absentee-bid/) or give us your phone number so that we can call you at the time of the auction.

    You can also register for the online auction here : https://www.interencheres-live.com/catalogue-696243a9f5a15dcad2e5dde9dafb967e.html (by clicking ‘S’inscrire à la vente’ and following the process).

    Have a good day

    L’Etude Labarbe

  3. Always reminded of a former colleague, who it’s fair to say liked his travel and liked the finer things in life.
    He was Gold with BMI, and with traveling LBA-LHR every week got friendly with the cabin crew.
    He had a flight with BMI Baby to Tenerife or somewhere, and didn’t fancy the LCC dining options. So managed to convince the crew on the LBA route to acquire and let him borrow a full set of 1st class plates, cutlery and wine glasses – then made a trip to Selfridge’s food hall.
    I can just imagine the looks he got, as the trolley was going round offering overpriced tubes of Pringles, as he and his companion got out their picnic of delights and set it out on China plates…

  4. Czechoslovakia says:

    CSA Czech Airlines has got the right approach to catering in my opinion. All short haul flights have buy on board, with the option of a prebooked hot business class meal. For 12 euro you get a full business class dining experience at your economy class seat. Proper cutlery, china dinnerware, 3 course’s and full bar service. Plus envious looks from the rest of the pax for free :-)

    • AirBerlin has prebooked meals too.
      The food is certainly much better quality.

      The problem I have had with BoB on both Easyjet and AirBerlin is that they tend to run out of the hot options very quickly.
      I think this is bad planning – I realise that wastage is a potential cost, but one would have thought that their data-mining would enable them to manage that, and I would expect they could get more profit by using the space for this rather than more “Duty Free”.

  5. With reference to BA potentially stopping meal service on short haul flights, I perhaps have a different view. I really don’t see why there should be a necessity to provide free meals and drinks to passengers on short haul flights. We live in a world where there is no shortage of food/ drinks available at the airport or from elsewhere and we really are not going to starve if we don’t eat for a couple of hours. When we get a bus, train, taxi for a short journey, we don’t get free meals served to us, so perhaps it is time that airlines also aligned? It must cost a lot of money to operate a meal service and I just don’t think it is a necessity. Perhaps it is a generational thing, but airplane travel for me is not as exclusive as it was for my parents and along with many of my similar aged peers, I just don’t see what the fuss over free short haul meals is all about!! It’s always difficult to accept changes but sometimes we may need to think whether we are losing something we really “need” vs something that was a “nice to have”.

    • length of journey door-to-door

      drive to airport – park – wait 2 hrs – fly – get luggage – drive to destination

      easily10 hrs for us

      sure, we can buy a snack at some stage/ take a snack from home

      but full service means you get catered for by the airline when you’re hungry due to travelling time

    • If you fly for work, then the 1-2 hours spent on the aircraft travelling out in the moring, and the 1-2 hours travelling back after a day’s work, are a good time to have a meal. You don’t want to wait until later or live off sandwiches if you can help it.

      • But lets keep this in context – you aren’t getting a proper meal in BA economy shorthaul anyway. You are getting a small roll and an iced bun.

    • The employer is paying whatever is included in the ticket price. Everything else is ones own money. Lots of people are flying on business.

  6. Concorde toilet seat anyone?

    • Hey Harry. I understand that the door-to-door journey can be long, but I would ask why it is the airline that has to pick up the tab for feeding you!? The flight is only one component of your end-to-end journey, yet there is no expectation for the car drivers, airport waiting area, car parks to feed you for free :) Its quite interesting when we stop to actually think about it! #firstworldproblems

      • if the trade off is £45 HBO fares in Europe (which it is, currently), I think I can deal with no airline food/ booze

    • If it speeds up the time we spend on the loo and delivers a supersonic experience, then i’m game!! :)

  7. O/T, an urgent update for everyone who went for the MTX Connect/6000 Lufthansa Miles & More deal…

    A few days ago this offer was discussed in the comments on the HFP article at http://www.headforpoints.com/2016/09/14/10000-avios-points-or-e200-for-4-x-2-night-accor-stays-however-cheap/.

    I ordered my SIM card on 14th and it arrived this morning (17th) in the post. I’ve activated the card and added 20 euros to the balance. One important thing worth noting – on the ‘How It Works’ page, you’ll notice this:

    “This marketing offer valid for the first 1000 ordered SIM-cards. Miles will be accrued according to marketing offer conditions.”

    This was rather cunningly buried away. No one will see it at first. I suspect there are going to be a lot of angry people when they find out they weren’t quick enough. I hope we were all quick enough to qualify for the first 1000!

    • Peter Taysum says:

      O/T ish for those in the regions.

      Ryanair is reported to start running NCL to MAD (in Newcastle Chronicle).

      Would allow us to access Iberia more easily.

      My “hubs” were LHR, AMS, PAR, I will now add MAD

      I’m BA Gold dropping to Silver in Nov, and won’t get it back ’till prob July next year. *cries*

      I’ve got 14 flights from NCL to/from LHR over the next year to feed into mostly CE/CW/First. I have my own IFE, noise cancelling headphones, so if I have to buy food too, and an M&S mini bottle of Champers so be it.

      Iberia is pretty dreadful short haul economy, so I guess they’ll make it all the same under IAG’s umbrella.

      • not like I’m one for following all the rules but technically drinking alcohol you haven’t bought/got from the airline is illegal, in the UK/from the UK/to? the UK

        • Nope – it’s an airline policy rather than a law about whether you can drink your own alcohol.

      • They will. All short haul layouts on new IAG planes are identical, bar the seats, so planes can move around the fleets.

    • Well spotted, Andrew – thanks for sharing that.

    • Further to this, I’ve been doing some googling and the MTX/Miles & More offer started to circulate on social media last week, especially on blogging sites. Judging by the comments section from yesterday on this Polish site (and I can’t be confident of the translation), it appears that the miles have already been distributed. If so, it’s disappointing.

      http://lojalnypasazer.pl/miles-and-more-zdobycia-6500-mil-20-euro-wykorzystania-transmisje-danych-europie/

      The 5000 mile offer is still showing on the MTX website. It should have been taken down by now. They’re even charging 5 euros for the SIM card. It’s very misleading to customers.

  8. With the possibility of retaining some free option for status or connecting passengers wouldn’t that just be very complex for the CC, or doesn’t that matter? Family of 4 get one meal to share because one parent has status. Colleagues travel and only one offered free drink because others have no status. All or nothing seems a better option to me.

    • If you have the option to pay for 3 members of your family and get one free because of status why would you complain? and the colleagues can pay for their own drinks?

      Not like I have gold and probably never will but I wouldn’t begrudge anyone with Gold getting complimentary f&b, they already get plenty other benefits non status don’t.

  9. The food charge isn’t a surprise; someone on twitter complained yesterday to regards the food onboard their flight and it was suggested via the BA twitter account that they could always bring their own on board!

  10. I don’t much care about the free F & B on BA sort haul myself. I tend to get Silver annually from a long haul flight or maybe 2 in J usually with another OW carrier. I do then use BA in Europe to get the 4 eligible flights needed. I like the lounge access, priority boarding and ability to book a seat in advance which comes with status. The loss of short haul booze in Y which I do fly, wouldn’t bother me as long as I pay a reasonable price and get my status benefits. But I think some of the folks I holiday with would not see any difference between BA and EZ/Monarch were the “free” snack and booze to go. I don’t think I know anyone who would willingly fly Ryanair. Call it snob factor if you like but there it is.

    • Well you sort of know me – I would very happily fly Ryanair & I don’t understand the objection. Very new aircraft, never crashed into the ground = safe. Cheap/ competitive fares = value for money. Always on time = punctual.

      A massive success story. Just 6 years ago they were on 80 million passengers a year, now they are on 110 million – Europeans love Ryanair.

      I don’t see it as snob, I see it as blind.

  11. Keep the free bar service but introduce pre bookable pay for meals. If BA get rid of the free bar there will be no difference to easyjet.

  12. OT avios&money: if I cancel an avios&money redemption do I still get back all the avios and cash (- £35 fee) paid or has rules changed? Thanks.

    • Sorry, forget that, it was working out at close to 2p/avios.

    • LondonFoodie says:

      Just for the record you don’t get the cash back on such bookings. They often work out great value (.066p/Avios on my last booking)but the money spent on Avios isn’t refundable.

      • Thanks, yes, that was what I thought but I asked the question just to double-check because I had reread the old avios university post in which it says both the cash and avios were refunded. I’m sure Rob will get round to updating that and giving it another run at some point. I was looking at 2x ow z7 redemptions where a saving of just 45k avios on the usual 150k was costing about £900 more. I was surprised as I was expecting something closer to the 0.66p you suggest. Would even be much cheaper buying the avios in current sale.

  13. The Etihad 30% code is a decent offer if you can be flexible, booked MAN-PER, MEL-LON in J for around £2150. Think chauffeur service is included

  14. Getting Pret sandwich seems to be reasonable alternative.

    SAS, Iceland Air sell food on-board but the market position is different: things are expensive/portions small at the terminal, so might just as well buy on board.

    • Swanhunter says:

      Do you really think BA will deliver anything of Pret quality?

      • It would work because it preserves BA’s reputation a bit. I doubt the logistics stand up though – Pret food is designed to be eaten with a couple of hours of being made so back-catering longer routes wouldn’t work. You’d need a dedicated Pret kitchen inside Gate Gourmet and the economics, even with a price premium, are unlikely to stack up.

        • IIRC there was a short perid in tge past during whic eitger BA if BMI actually served M&S sandwiches.

      • Lady London says:

        I know I keep mentioninng this but I just wish it was possible for BA to give us a pre-orderable, payable menu like Austrian does which is a menu by Do & Co. Do & Co can you please come to the UK?

        • BA’s pre bookable gourmet meals on long haul economy ex LHR are already provided by Do & Co. Your wishes may indeed come true!

      • Pret food on the whole is pretty revolting. Its the shop closest to work and I’d rather walk ten minutes in the rain to a street market stall in Soho than consume the over priced and over calorific items that come out of the deranged mind of Julian Metcalfe and team. I’d rather have the dirty pleasure of a McDonalds that has the same calories as most of Prets sandwiches.

        If BA do drop food completely then T5 needs to get in more food shops and dump the useless “luxury” labels that clog up the terminal. Otherwise I can imagine some enterprising chap will be selling boxed meals to people on the tube!

  15. Hi bit OT but re the Amex £50 Hilton offer that expires 30 Nov. Was thinking of booking advance purchase rate for stay in Dec. If charged to the card.now, do you think the £50 credit will post? Even if stay not completed? Thanks

    • Yes, you’ll be fine as long as they charge your card. Not all properties do this at time of booking – if it doesn’t happen then you can call the front desk and ask them to do so although there’s no guarantee that they’ll do it. It doesn’t matter when you stay, just that your card is charged before the offer ends.

      • You type faster than me!

        • 😛

          Still waiting for mine to credit – looks like the hotel has come up as Doubletree rather than Doubletree by Hilton and this means Amex hasn’t automatically triggered, will need to drop them a secure message if it doesn’t in a few days.

          • Having related issues with my hhonors card, they are not crediting me the 2500 bonus for first four stays as they don’t seem to recognise Aberdeen Garden Inn.

          • That’s pretty common – I’d get in touch with the Barclaycard Web Relations team or Twitter team to escalate – they can definitely sort this sort of thing :)

    • Yes, IME always credits soon after the charge goes through. If hotel delays the charge that could be a bigger issue so if it looks like that is happening just call tbe hotel and ask them to process the payment.

  16. Buy-on-board catering is ok, but pre-booked meals are difficult to implement and make profit on. I won’t name the airline, but I know the finance director at a major low-cost carrier in Asia, and they make more profit with spontaneous on-board purchases, with little profit on pre-booked meals due to the logistics with finding out:

    1. Which passengers qualified for a free meal with a flex booking (the free meal has different meal selections to regular fare passengers). This could be equivalent to CE connections with BA.
    2. Which passengers have pre-booked which meals (the selection can be changed up to 48 hours before flight). In the case of mass rebooking due to flight cancellations, all the meal options have to be transferred to new flights.
    3. Which meals can be loaded locally at a destination before return (different at every airport, so meal options vary on different routes).
    4. Which passengers have changed seat last minute. Meals are printed with a seat sticker upon preparation 12-24 hours before departure, so if a passenger changes seat at airport check-in, they have to be manually tracked down on the plane.

    Let’s say 100 passengers have pre-booked Meal A for a flight on Saturday, but then 3 days before departure they all change to meal B. The flight is then cancelled and the 100 meals have to be split across 4 other flights.

    It’s cheaper to just load 2 free meal options on every flight, so no matter what flight, what passenger, what seat, the overall cost of running the system is lower.

    • To add a little more: The supplier contracts are much more complicated and expensive. In January, Meal A could be the most popular pre-booked meal (1st choice for 70% of people), but in February it could be 4th choice with only 10% of people choosing it. Long-term trends are hard to forecast and no supplier likes that degree of uncertainty – make any quantity of any meal as and when is required.

  17. Important question alert!…
    Is it just me or are G&Ts exclusively consumed on flights? I barely see them ordered on land but it seems every other person drinks them while flying!

    • and make sure you order a double – which cabin crew are all too happy to give you, as it saves them a chore later

      yep – turning senior – I won’t now ever drink spirits at home or elsewhere – but all too happy with a G&T in the lounge or on the plane

    • Have you never been to Spain???

      • I think Leo means the young people in Spain drink a huge amount of spirits – G&T yes – but even more Scotch & Coke, which is a very easy drink – un poquito mas, por favor would be my call as the barman mixed it up for me :)

    • I drink G&T on both land&air but never seeing anyone else ordering them actually! Apparently NCE-LGW is the most G&T trafficated route I remember Raffles advised once:-)
      Honestly The idea of removing all this and even the snack is

    • Gin and Tonic Please says:

      As my username suggests, I can assure you that I’ll happily order a G&T on the ground as well as in the air! :)

  18. A crew member told me BOB was coming when I flew to Madrid last week… cruzified!!

    • LOL, thanks Neil. Not for the first time, I commented last night BA or BMI previously served M&S food, only this time we will have to pay for it. I wonder if we can double dip avios and M&S points for purchases or perhaps we should all tender M&S gift cards as payment

      • M&S prices are fair enough & the quality is good – hard to see BA charging similar prices to high st, though.

        Sounds like WHSmith or Boots £3 meal deals airside will become more popular…

  19. I hope more people will be able to join me on my indefinite boycott of BA, which started in 1992 (apart from a period during which they actually turned BAEC into the best FFP out, from about 2007 to a couple of years ago). I can do it as London is not the centre of my universe and I make Iberia my main OW FFP. It’s a shame, there are only horrible airlines in the UK now (Flybe, Jet2, etc.) unless Eastern is any better.

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