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British Airways introducing buy on board by the back door

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Regular readers will have seen my various articles recently on the major cuts to British Airways in-flight service, eg here and here and here.

Long-haul travellers in World Traveller (economy) have born the brunt.    We have seen the loss of pretzels, removal of cheese and biscuits, removal of the ‘tuck box’ and – on longer flights – the complete removal of the second meal, to be replaced by a fun-size Mars Bar.  Seriously.

Now we have the next move.

M&M World

From 23rd August, Pringles, M&Ms and Maltesers will be available to purchase on all long haul flights.

This was reported on Flyertalk by a BA cabin crew member, who I have met and trust, and has been confirmed by BA on Twitter.

There are a few exceptions – anyone know why Russia or Iran would have a problem with M&Ms?  (EDIT: see the comments, someone does know.)  The mid-haul routes served by the ex-BMI A321 aircraft are also excluded.

Technically, this is not ‘buy on board’ catering.  This is because they are being sold from the duty free trolley, although an announcement will be made in the cabin that they are on the trolley and available for purchase.

I very much doubt, however, that they will be sold at a ‘tax free’ price, ie 16.7% cheaper than the UK retail price.  I would bet on twice the price of your local Tesco Express.  Do let me know if you find yourself down the back after 23rd August ……

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Comments (119)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Sam G says:

    Virgin has had these for years – – although I never heard them announced or saw anyone buy one!

  • Stan says:

    Russia does not have a problem with M&Ms it is a distribution legal problem. The rights to distribute M&M in Russia is sold to a retail network Magnit who hold all rights to sell M&M in Russia including to other retailers. BA does not get their M&M stock from Magnit thus can not sell it in Russian airspace(Flights). Iran on the other hand I dont know.

  • Genghis says:

    Just had a little chuckle.
    “Do let me know if you find yourself down the back after 23rd August ……”
    Because Raffles certainly won’t be down the back.

    • S says:

      I will be down the back too…I forgot how BA economy product was…alt brought fingers crossed for a BA GC upgrade….

      Will let you know…

      • Rob says:

        Certainly won’t! I am flying airberlin / NIKI short haul tomorrow though ….

    • James67 says:

      On BA down the very back might now be the safest and best place to be, hopefully they will have run out of food and snacks before they get there, and watching the ever deteriorating service in the cabin ahead is probably much more amusing IFE than their AVOD.

      • RIccati says:

        “…watching the ever deteriorating service in the cabin ahead is probably much more amusing IFE than their AVOD.”


        But the choices M&Ms and Pringles are absolutely unhealthy. HM Government shall impose a sweets duty on them together with the sugary drinks!

    • marly says:

      That what she said!

      • AVM says:

        Thanks for reminding me – I should watch The Office again…

        • ankomonkey says:

          I watched 3 episodes from series 1 on a flight last week. I literally cried with laughter at one point 🙂

    • Nick says:

      The “down the back” comment has me confused. There is no suggestion that BoB is going to be restricted to WT. I’m in F next week, and I’ll be asking for some m&ms just to see what happens. (I have no intention of embarrassing the crew, who once again are the ones who will have to deal with this latest “enhancement”).

      At least we know why BA has been running down the options in the CW kitchen now- they want to sell the same stuff to passengers paying premium ticket prices instead.

  • Tim @ Points to be Made says:

    I’ll be down the back (but upstairs) London-bound on 23rd. Price list coming your way!

  • Susan says:

    Because what BA’s woeful cleaning standards really needs is to deal with melted Maltesers and crushed M&Ms.

    Also it’s British Airways dammit – should be Smarties not M&Ms.

    • Bob says:

      Smarties are made in Germany by Nestle.

      • Susan says:

        A once great British product now run by a foreign interloper yet trading on its UK origins … now where have we seen that before.

    • James67 says:

      It’s the cleanliness of BA aircraft that has really disturbed me over the past couple of yeats, many aircraft I have been on are shockingly dirty even in premium cabins. I think it’s the penny-pinching we have largely missed.

      • Bariummeal says:

        I second this – what really annoys me is the dirt. Masses of crisps etc on the floor between the club seats and the window etc. If the airlines were car brands – Singapore is a Mercedes, Emirates is BMW, Etihad is Audi, BA is Vauxhall.

        • harry says:

          Are you sure it’s not Skoda? In the sense that it is in the process of reinventing itself and has some way to go. But good under the bonnet.

          • Lady London says:

            In that case it would be a Dacia.

            Owned by a company just to the lower half of medium segment, lowering the cost base as in buying in cheap (“ambient”) items, appealing to customers who are looking at a lower value but still sound offering but at a lower price.

          • harry says:

            As long as it’s got about 5 drinks holders I’m not complaining

        • Lady London says:

          What’s Qatar?

          • Erico1875 says:

            The king with no clothes on.
            OK. Their bus class is fine but economy? Give me BA everytime

  • Fred says:

    You could at least acknowledge Flyertalk as your source when you shamelessly steal content for your articles.

    • Nick says:


    • grex9101 says:

      Unless it’s word-for-word, how can you even prove that content came from there?
      It’s legitimate news – should it not be reported simply because it was on another site first?

    • Rob says:

      Fair point, added in. There should have been a hat-tip to FT originally. I do know the crew member who posted that. I am working on holiday at the moment though so things are a bit more rushed than usual.

      You forgot to quote this paragraph by the way:

      “The downside is that, as a 24/7 site, it never goes away. I find myself answering reader comments on Christmas Day. On holiday, I need to spend 1-2 hours per day replying to comments and emails and reworking what I have prepared for the following day.”

      or this one:

      “I do everything myself, but I am starting to feel the strain. For every hour I spend writing articles (I publish three per day, seven days a week) I spend 2-3 hours dealing with [other stuff]”

      I think most people who read this site understand that its value, if any, is in the curatorial element – separating the wheat from the chaff that is out there and then presenting it in an easy to follow format with some intelligent analysis.

      I also think most people who read this site understand that I shouldn’t work for 50 hours per week (and I am typing this in my holiday hotel) for free. Anika is also pretty much full-time at the moment as she is attending a lot of events for me on top of the reviews and Shopper Points.

      The joy of free enterprise of course is that, if you think you can do it better, you are welcome to try 🙂

      • Ross says:

        Kudos for such a measured and reasonable response to envy. Normally the “anyone could do what you did” crowd are walking disproofs of their own theorem.

      • James67 says:

        You do a great job Rob and have been mindful of acknowledging sources from day one. Don’t lose any sleep over those who only see the tip of the iceberg or cannot see the wood for the trees. I believe the vast majority of us HFP readers do recognise and appreciate the amount of effort you have to invest in this, and we don’t really care about the sources, appreciating instead your efforts to highlight, prioritize and explain relevance of key stories within a UK context. Before HFP it took me hours to find what I wanted on FT and elsewhere. Now I am satisfied to follow just HFP and one other blog to get all the information I need.

        • Madmax says:

          Out of interest, what’s the other blog you follow, if you’re happy to share?

          • Brian says:

            Personally, I find LoyaltyLobby a good source of info about offers, especially hotel-related. The standard of writing, however, is absolutely dreadful and there is no analysis to speak of, whereas HfP does a great job of looking into the pros and cons of various issues.

            I find that HfP and LL are enough for me. There are lots of offers on LL that don’t make it onto here – for instance, a recent Accor offer of 1000 points for any UK stay, which I got on a Happy Mondays deal – so that’s 20 euros back on a stay that only cost me £40 anyway! Since Rob tends to ignore a lot of Accor stuff, that’s the kind of thing that makes me follow LL. But there is plenty of chaff on there, too, whereas HfP is all wheat! :))

          • James67 says:

            Madmax, Brisn just answered for me.

        • thomas bond says:

          This is why we should have a like button! Completely agree

      • Elena -MuslimTravelGirl says:

        Thank you Rob, for the awesome response. As someone who deal with that, I appreciate the answer.

        Definitely very valuable website, who has helped many people!

      • Leo says:

        Fred and Jonty – thanks for your really useful input.

        Yes that is sarcasm by the way. When you start paying to subscribe HfP feel free to make those kind of comments. Otherwise you are just wasting everyone else’s time.

      • Florian LF says:

        It’s normal that you benefit a bit from your hard work!
        You have a great website full of very good info/tips!
        The guy is clearly a standard forum troll 🙂

      • Vistaro says:

        Thanks Raffles, enjoy your blog and keep up the great work..

        @Fred please go and start your own blog, I for one will subscribe just to see how well it goes.

      • Graham says:

        Shot, Sir!

      • Erico1875 says:

        If it was my site I would just delete such rude comments rather than justify myself to jealous morons.
        Well done for keeping your cool.

    • MR Bridge says:

      Really> You obviously take the time to get the HFP emails the content to have read the post in the first place..Hypocrite.
      Ps there is an unsubscribe button

    • Callum says:

      While it makes the site less relevant for me as I tend to find out before an article is published here, that’s what people want – as demonstrated by the income figures…

      While I must admit I find some of the idolising from a minority on here a bit creepy, you cannot deny Rob is good at what he does, and if that allows him to name a good income of it – at no direct charge to you – then good for him.

      • Ralphy says:

        You tend to find out before an article is published here? Then you are wasting your time here and are far too much in the know.
        Best you unsubscribe so that you can stop re-reading what you already have read and know.
        Idolising from a minority creepy? Your post is creepy. There are many, many HfP subscribers that value the immense work that is put in to producing three blogs a day as well as personal responses to emails etc. No mean feat and let’s see you try it big mouth.
        Your whole post smacks of jealousy you really need to get over yourself.

    • Graeme says:

      If only you weren’t forced to read the site every day.

    • RTS says:

      Don’t feed the trolls.

    • silver james says:

      there’s always a cry baby isnt there? going to tell mummy Mr Raffles being naughty?

    • Nick_C says:


    • Alan says:

      I don’t agree with your post, Jonty, but I did find the article interesting – thank for highlighting it, good to read a bit of the ‘behind the scenes’ at HfP!

  • Paul says:

    Having just experienced First again and it’s much reduced standards I simply cannot understand why anyone pays BA real money to fly cattle class or cattle class plus. Club World is dire and First mearly adequate as a business class product.

    I hold a gold card gained via QR, CX and AA plus some BA short haul the last one resulting in a EU261 claim due to their incompetence operationally.

    Unless and until people vote with their feet and something is done to dismantle their near monopoly at Heathrow and end their commercial agreements with AA JAL and others, then noting will improve. It’s clear that only real competition will move them away from the LCC model while charging full service fares.

    • James Alexander says:

      OMG! How far is BA going to go in their race to the bottom.
      How truly embarrassing that once “the World’s favourite airline” is being managed into a no frills bus with wings transport system.
      Shareholders snd management must be laughing like hyenas!

      • Callum says:

        In what way is it embarrassing? Or are you lamenting the fact that the lower classes now have the audacity to travel, which is largely behind the explosion of LCCs which in turn is facilitating this race to the bottom?

        • Alex says:

          Are you serious? Please don’t try to turn this into some sort of class warfare argument.

          Ryanair doesn’t have the audacity to charge 2k GBP for a transatlantic business class seat which at this point is more reminiscent of PE both in terms of hard (personal space) and soft (catering) product. 8 across in C at a time when DL is introducing private suites in business? If that isn’t embarrassing, I don’t know what it. The only reason BA can continue on this path is its near monopoly for corporate contracts out of London and its JVs with JAL eastbound and AA westbound. (I firmly believe that all JVs should be dismantled, as they create the illusion of competition when there is none).

          • David says:

            Have to tally agree with this. BA’s monopoly allows them to provide a very poor service but charge fairly high prices because of these JV’s and the amount of slots it has at Heathrow. Personally, if I have to buy flights I either buy a Virgin flight westwards or a Qatar/Cathey flight eastwards as the quality of the BA product is just ridiculous and is getting lower by the month. I do still collect Avios as a First redemption on a 241 is still worthwhile for me, however if any changes were to happen to Avios and/or BA continue down this path of stripping away all the little additions, I will also move my points earning away from them as I don’t fly First to get a poor business service.

          • Callum says:

            Class warfare!? Give me a break…

            Ryanair would indeed have the audacity to do that if people were willing to pay it. And your argument that club world is like premium economy is so beyond absurd I’m not even going to address it…

          • Nick_C says:

            I fly TA for leisure, paying for my tickets. I either fly PE on BA or Business Class on AA.

            On our last flight back from Canada, BA upgraded us from WT+ to CW. It was nice as a free upgrade, but it felt more like a very good PE than a business class product. The high density, the lack of privacy, lack of personal service, staring at a stranger during take off, the lack of storage space, not good at all.

            I would never pay to fly BA CW. It falls far below my expectations of a business class product.

          • Alex says:

            Oh, no… please do address it. When was the last time you flew an airline other than BA in C?

            Granted, there still are a lot of mediocre C seats out there (TK, the Chinese), but the new generation seats in the market (CX, AA, DL, UA, QR, EK on the A380, Finnair, AF, KL) are leaps and bounds ahead of BA’s product which is massively outdated. Revolutionary 10 years ago, it is now so behind the curve it isn’t even funny. Relative to the competition, it is starting to look more and more like a very nice PE, the same way that BA F is now more akin to very nice C, rather than being truly competitive with actual First.

    • James Alexander says:


    • the_real_a says:

      I have no issues with degradation of service, so long as the price is reduced to reflect. A LCC flat bed seat (even high density) for a few hundred quid above economy would sit quite nicely with me.

    • Vistaro says:

      BA has lost it, I fly at least 30 long hauls each year, every single one used to be BA, BAEC Gold for over 20 years, Gold for life & GGL etc but now fly almost entirely on QR, still collect the BA Tier Points BUT surprisingly BA has never even asked why I rarely fly with them.

      On the rare occasion I do fly BA I always feel it’s a very poor product next to the ME3

  • N says:

    Down down down we go

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