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You can now buy food and drink in British Airways short-haul Economy without pre-ordering

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When British Airways launched its revised short-haul Economy catering in January, it came with a catch.

The good news was that all passengers got a free bottle of water and a mini snack. A range of good quality Tom Kerridge products were also added to the ‘for sale’ menu.

The bad news was that EVERYTHING had to pre-ordered. Fancy a cup of coffee on board? Forget it. You had to order it 24 hours in advance (12 hours for outbound flights) or you weren’t getting it.

British Airways brings back buy on board food

Everyone except British Airways decided that this was a bad idea. When Rhys flew down to Edinburgh in April, he was the ONLY person – on either leg of his trip – to have pre-ordered anything. Here is Rhys’s review of pre-ordering food in economy on British Airways including a review of his Tom Kerridge pie.

British Airways has now relented.

Starting from 19th July, you will be able to order food and drink onboard. The Tom Kerridge items will not be available, and it remains to be seen if there will be any fresh food at all.

It is a staggered roll out so it may take a few weeks to reach all routes. It will initially launch on 29 routes, including those to Greece, the Balearics, Cyprus, Egypt, Romania, Morocco, Moscow and Jordan.

Ultra short routes such as Jersey and Amsterdam will not receive the service. If you want a cup of coffee on these services, it will still need to be ordered 12-24 hours in advance.

British Airways Eurotraveller Tom Kerridge steak and ale pie

How will British Airways ‘buy on board’ work?

You will be free to continue pre-ordering food and drink from up to 12 hours before departure. Pre-ordering will remain the only way to get your hands on the Tom Kerridge menu and certain other items.

If you want to purchase anything onboard, you will need to log in to a new inflight ordering system via your smartphone. You will not need to pay for inflight wi-fi to access this.

Payment will be possible via credit and debit cards or with Avios. The Avios option is a bad deal and best avoided. Cash payments will not be possible. It appears that payment will be made to cabin crew and not online to avoid any stock issues.

So, you see, progress of sorts ….

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (July 2024)

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.

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

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Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

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

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You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

Comments (27)

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  • David S says:

    BA should go and study Bangkok Airways – a full meal on the service from BKK to Koh Samui. It was done so efficiently and friendly all on a completely full one hour flight. We flew back from FAO last month and no one ordered anything . The only food we saw at the back was the BA flight members taking the Tom Kerridge meals to the galley and eating it themselves.

    • ChrisD says:

      Yep, I’ve done that route and the food was proper tasty too.

      It doesn’t take a genius to work out why BA seem to struggle to compete when they waste so many people hours thinking up, designing, then back-tracking on these overly complex ways of eating a sandwich!

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

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