Nutmeg Avios

British Airways ‘to sell M&S food on short-haul’

Following on from my story on Saturday that British Airways is training cabin crew to sell ‘buy on board’ food on short haul – but only after they sign a confidentiality agreement – the Daily Mail reported on Sunday that British Airways has signed a deal with Marks & Spencer to sell food onboard.

You can read the article here.


As I wrote on Saturday, this can hardly be worse than the current situation where a mini bag of crisps is considered to be a ‘snack’.

I would take the article with a pinch of salt (5p per sachet, probably) in some areas.  Whilst it may be true that “executives believe holidaymakers are increasingly prepared to pay for extras if ticket prices are lower”, it is also true that holidaymakers make up a minority of BA passengers and very definitely a minority of short-haul revenue.

And you will see that BA says: “Everything we do is with our customers in mind and we will make changes that reflect their feedback’ …….!

In terms of implementation, it genuinely isn’t clear.  I have heard:

that Gatwick will get it first, but also that it will hit the entire fleet at once

that BA elite members will get their food and drink for free, but also that everyone will have to pay

that Club Europe meals will be scrapped in return for a free sandwich and drink, but also that Club Europe food will remain as it is

So, basically, there is no clarity!  Plenty of fun and games ahead I think.

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  1. I can’t see this working logistically unless pre ordered. The wastage in throw away would be huge and M&S would have to trust BA not to screw up.their own brand and products.

    As for T&C changes, Etihad stopped free chauffeurs for all after X date on some cheaper business tickets and I was caught out but they did honour for existing tickets.

    • Do you know how much food is wasted on airlines which serve proper meals??

      Even Pret throws away loads of food every day. You can get it for free if you are hosting a charity event or you know which bins to look in (not that I go dumpster diving, but my neighbour does and he also sells me 2 euro coins for a pound each)

    • They will be loaded at 5am and simply topped up during the day when the aircraft gets to London. Don’t fancy being on the last flight of the day!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Would have thought its easier as its just on european short haul, long shelf life and can just be topped up as you go

  2. I had a major argument about no free water recently when flying with Iberia. I asked for water to take my medication and they wanted 2 Euros. I had literally no cash on me at all so could not pay even if I had wanted to. The crew refused to supply me with it. I finally said that they had a choice – they either supplied me with water to take my medication of in 30 minutes they would have to declare a medical emergency and divert the plane. The water duly arrived.

    I had actually booked the flight through BA (with a BA code share) and I complained to BA. BA gave me an ex gratria 10,000 Avios because they were so appalled by this dreadful service.

  3. How appropriate, two British brands, neither of which knows what the represent any more, get together to offer not just any over priced sandwhich……..

    This will work for BA because of their stranglehold on LHR, the lack of competition and because Of the general lack of quality in almost everything in the UK.

    • People are having a go at M&S for being dowdy/ mum’s brand/ lost its way – but as regards M&S food – the accusation is baseless. They have done food continually well for the last 40 years.

  4. I know if they scrapped the food in club Europe I wouldn’t bother flying BA on short haul.

  5. My wife works for one of the suppliers of M&S Sandwiches/Bread etc.
    Based on insider knowledge we would never eat a pre packed sandwich.
    Read into that what you like….

    • yes, and always wash the washed salad!

      • Seems like a strategy to fail from the start. Irrespective of alternative choices we and many others choose to travel BA short haul without even considering the low cost carriers (unless the price is ridiculous) because of the confidence in the brand and the on board service which includes a free bar service and even a packet of crisps.
        I would doubt that BA will reduce their prices because of this change and if they do so it will be a race to the bottom requiring even more degradation of BA reputation and service.
        Instead of following Vueling they should be upgrading their product to compete with the mainstream carriers such as Turkish and the mid east operators.
        Sad to see this happening to what was a great airline!!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Based on insider knowledge I’d never eat anything anywhere except grown, prepared and cooked by my own fair hands

      Horror stories everywhere

  6. So BA fly from LGW with BOB, and Easyjet fly from LGW with BOB. Where’s the justification for higher fares than SLZY?

    • The £4bn BA pension deficit, for a start, as well as a large number of cabin crew who are still on £40k+ compared to easy’s £12k+.

      • That might be the justification for BA to charge more, but there doesn’t seem to be any incentive for the customer to pay more now. If BA can’t compete on price then they need to compete on product, which they were doing before all the recent and upcoming enhancements.

      • The customer doesn’t care about that though. BA will have to compete/match with Easy’s prices on those routes as they are now only offering the same service.

  7. In my mind BA (and LHR) have lost any advantage they had, having just arrived at LHR from GIG there is nothing to commend either of them – but the planes are still full (as is LHR) I must be missing something!

    • The planes are full down the back as BA are very competitive on price if you are flying from XXX-LHR-YYY where XXX is somewhere in continental Europe e.g. a non hub airport and YYY is somewhere on another continent.

      Looking at Seoul for example, BA generally come out cheaper than Aeroflot / air China who are usually the cheapest by far. Compared to the cost of the direct flight it’s almost worth doing an ex-EU! But that’s how airlines fill seats.

      • But that is true for all airlines to keep routes “alive”
        from LON the routes I fly TK or LH would come out cheaper than BA or VS all the time.
        flying from one country in EU to their hub and onward to destionations further east (for TK/LH)

  8. If food is stopped for Club Europe, there would no longer be a Club Europe service!

    Lounge and a spare seat in the middle? not going to worth 2-5x the price!

    Part of the master plan to gain an extra 6-14 seats worth of sales?

  9. Wonder if they will offer the £4 lunch deal, that would be a vast improvement on the current offering. Then maybe easyjet will respond by offering a Boots meal deal!

    • IMO there is both better quality and value to be had from the boots deal than the M&S one but it depends on combination of items selected.

      • check out the Morrisons deal – you can load up with fresh salady stuff instead of stodge

        • Well, Harry. Boots, M&S and WHSmug but not Morrisons AFAIK are present at some or all London airports, and those at LHR earn Heathrow Rewards points, in addition to Boots’ own Advantage points. This is a points forum, y’know. 😉

          I had not previously contemplated buying at the airport, not since the fumes of my giant Macdonalds filled the catering-less F cabin on DTW-LAS once, anyway.

          If M&S sandwiches are offered on Band 2 flights, I would see that as a genuine enhancement, so long as they were not cold chicken salad. 😀

        • Usually I opt for a salad at boots but will check out Morrisons as I go past one most days, thx for tip.

        • One of my (many) complaints about EDI airport is that Boots is gone and replaced with Superdrug, their meal deal isn’t as good! My other complaints are wide in range and scope!

    • easyJet does offer a meal deal, I accidentally got it when I flew Southend to Paris. (By ‘accidentally’ I mean I bought 2 things and was told I could have a free KitKat too!)

  10. If the story is true, then BA should at least lower the prices to reflect it. For me, it is not a big deal since I eat at the lounge before boarding and only have drinks on the plane and the snacks on short haul are not worth the hassle and I won’t be buying BOB anyway. Let’s hope they don’t start charging for the drinks.

  11. Slight O/T. Found out about a little quirk today with BA regarding choosing your seat early. I’d booked Club Europe LHR-AMS T-355 with Avios for our family to position out for our long haul flight and didn’t realise that if you have an infant travelling with you, then everyone in the booking is entitled to free seat selection from the moment you book! Shame it took me 8 months to find that out :-(.

    • …and for regular economy if travelling with kids they will allocate all your seats together
      and you can change them the day before the flight – (they may allocate 2+2 in consecutive rows and you want 3+1 on the same row for example)

      • …remembering that ‘kids’ means 11YO or under

        12 YO are young adults & can sit on their own according to BA

        don’t forget you can also check in online T-24, don’t however print your tickets as this messes up what follows; check in again at the airport using self check in (get there early) and choose any available seats on the plane incl exits FOC

  12. Going BOB will make BA short haul fares even more price sensitive to the likes of easyjet.

    If BA are charging £5 more than easyjet for a hand luggage fare for a short haul flight the vast majority of passengers will choose easyjet.

    Eurowings have got the in flight service right. The lowest basic fares include no free drink, the standard /extra fare includes a drink and a sandwich.

  13. It is being announced tomorrow. All short haul lgw and lhr from 11January will be buy on board food and drink. Club Europe not affected. LCY and STN summer 2017. Baec can use avios to pay on board. This includes drinks not just food.

    • & how are they looking after people who already paid for free drinks & snack?

      • at least my Xmas flights are unaffected

        • you have until 2 Oct to register for the Amex HEX 15% statement credit

          this combines with any other discount you can find

          best I got was moneysavingexpert com /travel /cheap-airport-parking

          2 weeks, ACE M&G, B’ham mid Oct, 20% discount, £82 – but you could leave it hanging for an hour, go back with same search & see if discount increases to 30% (as it often does with HEX)

          use the MSE link, go to payments, don’t pay, drop your booking into Amex link, same price, pay, you get discounted price & the 15% statement credit