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British Airways ‘buy on board’ – how to get a flight refund or 1000 Avios compensation

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I ran a couple of extra articles yesterday about the introduction of ‘buy on board’ catering from 11th January on British Airways services from Heathrow and Gatwick.

Club Europe catering is not impacted and will apparently be improved from January.

City and Stansted will not switch under Summer 2017.  However, the British Airways website implies that free alcholic drinks are being removed from these flights:

Depending on the time and duration of your flight, we will offer you a light snack or something more substantial, along with a soft drink of your choice from the bar.


My articles from yesterday are repeated at the bottom of this article for the benefit of our email subscribers who did not receive the extra articles yesterday.

Refunds are available

One point worth noting is that British Airways appears to be offering refunds to anyone who purchased a short-haul ticket before yesterday for travel after 11th January as long as they cancel up to 28 days before departure.   Whether or not you feel that strongly about the issue, this is a way of extricating yourself from any non-refundable tickets you may bought but now no longer require.

1,000 Avios are being offered to those with existing bookings after 11th January who make a complaint.  This is worth £8 of free food and so compensates you for having to pay for a snack.

You need to complete this form here and state that you would like to claim a refund or receive 1,000 Avios.  You will see that there is now a box marked “Are you contacting us about Short Haul Buy on Board Catering?”.

The rest of this article is taken from the two pieces yesterday:

What will be on offer?

The British Airways website has the following information:

London Heathrow and London Gatwick

From 11 January, we’re upgrading our food offering in our short haul economy cabins (Euro Traveller and UK Domestic) on flights to and from London Heathrow and London Gatwick.

We’re proud to be partnering with Marks & Spencer, another iconic British brand, to offer you a new ‘M&S on board’ menu that will replace the complimentary service currently provided. You will be able to select from the seasonally inspired menu and buy your food and drinks in one easy transaction.

M&S on board sample menu

Enjoy delicious sweet and savoury treats from British food favourite Marks & Spencer when travelling in our short haul economy cabins, Euro Traveller and UK Domestic, to and from London Heathrow and London Gatwick.

Here are just some of the exciting food options you can look forward to on board.

Fresh food

Classic Fruit Salad £3.10
Includes pineapple, melon, mango, apple, kiwi and blueberries.

Yogurt with Summer Berry Compote and Crunchy Granola – £1.95
Reduced-fat Greek-style yogurt, blackberry and blackcurrant compote and granola with sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

Mature Cheddar Cheese Ploughman’s – £3.00
Farmhouse cheddar cheese with vine-ripened tomatoes, pickle and lettuce on malted brown bread

Aberdeen Angus Beef and Red Onion Chutney Bloomer – £4.75
Soft onion bloomer with Aberdeen Angus beef, red onion chutney and tangy mustard.

Bacon Roll – £4.75
A soft white, buttered roll filled with succulent smoked British bacon. Served hot.

Mozzarella and Tomato Focaccia – £4.75
Buffalo mozzarella, juicy vine-ripened tomatoes and fragrant basil pesto dressing on pesto focaccia. Served hot.

Spiced Chicken with Quinoa and Rice – £4.95
Spiced chicken with quinoa, rice and a smoky tomato salsa.

Savoury snacks

Oriental Snack Mix – £2.00
Sesame-coated roasted cashew nuts, edamame soybeans, and roasted corn with puffed brown rice all with a soy and five-spice seasoning.

Hand Cooked Crisps – £1.00
Salt and Vinegar, or Lightly Sea Salted.

Nut Assortment – £1.60
A selection of almonds, brazil nuts, cashew nuts and hazelnuts.

Wasabi Peas – £1.60
Roasted green peas with a punchy wasabi flavoured coating.

Something sweet

Percy Pig – £1.85
Soft fruit-flavoured gums made with fruit juice…an M&S classic.

Salted Caramel Hazelnut Millionaire Biscuit – £1.45
Made without wheat and deliciously gluten free.

Chocolate Pretzels and Candy Popcorn – £2.45
Milk chocolate-covered toffee popcorn with popping candy pieces.

Super Nut Fruit and Seed Flapjack – £1.45
Soft, chewy all-butter flapjack.

Drinks menu

Choose from a wide range of hot or cold drinks when travelling in our short haul economy cabins, Euro Traveller and UK Domestic, to and from London Heathrow and Gatwick.

Hot drinks

Java Republic Coffee – £2.30
Twinings Tea – £2.30
Cadburys Hot Chocolate – £2.70

Soft drinks

Pip Organic Orange & Apple Juice (200ml) – £2.70
Vita Coco Coconut Water (330ml) – £2.70
Folkington’s Elderflower Presse (250ml) – £2.20
Appletiser (275ml) – £1.80
Harrogate Still or Sparkling Water (500ml) – £1.80
Coca Cola or Diet Coke (330ml) – £1.80

Alcoholic drinks

Spirits (5cl mini bottles) – £4.50
Assorted range including Bombay Sapphire, Johnny Walker Red, Smirnoff Red, Baileys Irish Cream, Bacardi and Jack Daniels.

Mixers (150ml mini bottles) – £1.50
Assorted range including Schweppes tonic water, slimline tonic and ginger ale.

Red or white wine (187ml) – £4.50
Prosecco Bottega Gold (200ml) – £6.00
London Pride (330ml) – £4.00
Becks Lager (330ml) – £4.00
Magners Original Cider (330ml) – £4.00

Will I get free food as a British Airways status member?


Can I pay with Avios?

Yes you can.  British Airways sent me some sample ‘pay with Avios’ prices:

Mature cheddar cheese ploughman’s – £3 or 375 Avios

Lightly salted hand cooked crisps – £1 or 125 Avios

Water – £1.80 or 225 Avios

Tea or coffee – £2.30 or 300 Avios

G&T (Anika, please note 🙂 ) – £6 or 750 Avios

Wine – £4.50 or 575 Avios

It could have been less generous, I suppose. At around 0.8p per point there are worse ways to spend your points (but obviously far better ways too).

This topic will no doubt run and run, but I think I will call it a day for a while now.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (119)

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

  • MaldenFlyer says:

    Totally OT, sorry…

    Just wondering if anyone has successfully used the Amex trailfinders offer to buy a gift card? The last day for the offer is today and it seems a shame not to use it…but only if somebody else has been the guinea pig first!

  • Smid says:

    BTW, if you think that Club Europe will have any ‘improvements’, then you haven’t been paying attention. ‘Improvements’ and ‘Enhancements’ are terms applied to describe everything bad so far…

    • Rob says:

      I fully expect it will be ‘take anything you want for free from the M&S list’.

      • Gavin says:

        Subtly downgrading the CE champers to Prosecco?

      • tim says:

        Agreed that we are heading to that or something very like it.

      • Alan says:

        That sounds a bit generous, no? More like one alcoholic drink, one non alcoholic, sandwich and snack? All a major enhancement of course…

  • n says:

    Is the 1k pp e/w?

  • Sam says:

    Has the removal of alcoholic drinks been confirmed ex-LCY/STN? Will I be able to get the 1,000 Avios back on those flights for lack of G&T?

  • Mikeact says:

    I wonder if I can cancel a BA/Avios booking I don’t really need next year, at no charge and the original £70 refunded ?

  • Stephen Wilson says:

    As a current M&S employee, can I get these meals at the discounted staff rate ??

  • Calz says:

    Slightly OT – I miss the Galleries lounge at Gatwick. I know it needed an overhaul but its such a shame it didn’t stay open while the new lounge was being set up at the South Terminal. It was one of the first lounges i visited when I obtained my first ever silver status (ah nostalgia). I don’t mind No.1 lounges but this morning it was ram-packed.
    Raffles, would you ever consider running an article that would list your favourite Galleries lounges/ have them ranked? There can be quite a difference between T3 lounge vs. T5B or other lounges worldwide.

  • Graeme says:

    The nature of some of the comments in regard to the removal of what effectively is a gin and tonic and snack over the last few days have been unbelievable. The shock, horror and disgust, threats of legal action, clamber for compensation of Avios points, regurgitation of the terminally dull ‘race to the bottom’ or ‘they’ll be selling scratch cards next’ quote is like some collective hysteria. Am I the only one thinking some people need to get a grip.

    • gumshoe says:

      No you’re not.

      And the irony is many of those making such comments say they’ll just stock up in the lounge instead. Which implies they’re well able to afford £10 for a sandwich and a G&T.

      Of course BA are laughing because they know full well that for all the toys being thrown out of prams today, the whingers will be first in line when they announce their next flash sale in Club World or First, just so they can keep the shiny little plastic card that makes them feel so frightfully important.

      • Stu N says:

        Some of the comments are maybe over the top, but free bar and snacks is an important differentiator on short haul EU and domestic flights, particularly ex Gatwick where BA go head to head with Easyjet on so many routes. It’s a bit rich for BA to unilaterally withdraw something they trumpeted as part of their offer, especially when they give customers so little leeway when they wish to make changes.

        I have a reward booking (long haul First) made before the announcement to fly after so I am claiming my 1k Avios – why shouldn’t I?

        • Stu N says:

          Should say “domestic connections onto long haul First”.

        • Tina says:

          I thought the new rules don’t apply to LH F passengers??

          • Alan says:

            They don’t affect the longhaul flight but the changes do impact on the domestic connection, which was the issue Stu was highlighting here.

      • Alex says:

        I always find annoying when someone tells in response to complain to a reduction of free service that “you can afford it” … you can afford to gift me 10 pounds too doesn’t mean that you should gift it to me … regardless of the significance or not of the issue itself … I think BA took wrong path of becoming low service high cost airline … and the louder we’ll tell that to them the better – they are destroying themselves piece by piece by that

      • tim says:

        well my card is bronze and I am not a big boozer. I am a price sensitive customer and if BoB drives fares down then I am all for it. But the retroactive introduction of this change is down right dishonest. They are unilaterally asking for more of my hard earned cash to provide something (a cup of tea and a G+T) which I was promised for free (in fact not just promised for free but trumpeted as a key differentiator of the BA offer – do you remember the “friendly lemon Ads?). I can live without a cup of tea, but if I paid for one at Costa and they failed to deliver one they would cheerfully give me a refund.

      • william merrett says:

        Give Easyjet or Ryanair some access to landing slots at LHR and you’ll quickly see how (dis)loyal BA frequent flyers really are.

        People fly BA due to lack of real choice, and the government are to blame for that as they won’t build any new runways in the right places.

        Exactly the same with houses. It’s not a market, the competition is not really competition unless the playing field is level.

      • Lady London says:

        @gumshoe have you wandered into the wrong room?

    • Simon says:

      The comments are ridiculous. I cant comprehend any adult who chooses an airline on the basis of a free drink and half an old sandwich!! And those that do have an issue can use the 1,000 Avios to purchase a drink. How do they survive without free water ?!?!

      • Simmo says:

        Some people travel with their jobs…
        People may find it difficult to expense the old free perks of alcohol and sandwich of a flight.

        • Simon says:

          So they can still get smashed in the lounge first, or buy their own alcohol. (With the avios they are earning via their business travel!). its utter nonsense.

      • tim says:

        You can’t comprehend it? I can. If it is Easyjet at £90 and BA at £95 I would choose BA because I know I would spend more than a fiver on a cup or tea and a G&T.

        I am not angry about the introduction of BoB per se. It is the cack handed retroactive way that they have introduced it which is morally dubious and possibly illegal.

        BA have managed to turn what could have been a positive story about an upgraded catering offering (which the M&S partnership undoubtedly brings) into a PR disaster by refusing to provide what was promised on existing bookings. The fact that they will offer 1000 Avios if you complain or threaten legal action suggests that they think they might be on shaky ground legally (no one actually knows of course if they are acting illegally until a senior judge rules) but the fact that they are not offering this proactively suggests that they are penny pinching shysters.

        • Leo says:

          You won’t be getting a “senior judge” on your small claims action.

          • tim says:

            I know. A small claims court decision sets absolutelg no precedent. You need to go to the court of appeal for that. Which is why BA always settle before the lower court issues its ruling. The lower court decision will either be against BA (but non binding in other cases) or it will be in favour of BA. The latter option is ironically worse for BA because it opens op the possiblity of an appeal to a higher court which will issue a decsion binding on lower courts.

    • Leo says:

      Hear hear! If I see “race to the bottom one more time”…..

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