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

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News in brief:

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

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 rob at

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.

How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards

How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards (December 2023)

Etihad Guest does not have a UK credit card.  However, you can earn Etihad Guest miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.

Cards earning Membership Rewards points include:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Etihad Guest miles which is an attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Etihad Guest mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.

Comments (113)

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

  • RIccati says:

    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?

      • Rob says:

        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.

        • James67 says:

          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?

        • C77 says:

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

      • flyforfun says:

        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!

  • Brian says:

    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, do you think the £50 credit will post? Even if stay not completed? Thanks

    • Alan says:

      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.

      • James67 says:

        You type faster than me!

        • Alan says:


          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.

          • James67 says:

            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.

          • Alan says:

            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 🙂

    • James67 says:

      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.

  • David says:

    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.

    • David says:

      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.

  • Tim says:

    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!

    • harry says:

      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

    • Leo says:

      Have you never been to Spain???

      • harry says:

        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 🙂

    • Idrive says:

      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! 🙂

  • Luca says:

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

    • James67 says:

      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

      • harry says:

        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…

  • Concerto says:

    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.

  • BA heading (further) down the LCC path - Page 6 says:

    […] Strong rumours of all complimentary food to go short-haul-maybe the G&T will be next British Airways to launch buy on board catering Reply With […]

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

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