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British Airways improves short haul snacks in Economy, and makes lounge loos unisex

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The longest journey starts with a single step, so we should roll out the red carpet for banana cake.

Unfortunately I wasn’t suppied with any photographs of the banana cake, but from 9th August, the bag of pretzels you are given in the British Airways Euro Traveller cabin is being replaced with it.

If banana cake isn’t your thing, you can also choose sultana flapjack.

A320neo airbus

These are, I admit, slightly bizarre choices – I suspect chocolate cake and plain flapjack would appeal to more people – and we have still to see the portion size. I would be pleasantly surprised if it was the same size as a standard pre-packaged corner shop flapjack. I suspect neither are gluten free.

The ability to offer much else than a piece of flapjack is hampered by the reduced galley facilities on the newest short-haul aircraft, where additional rows of seats were squeezed in instead.

The trial of free tea and coffee in Euro Traveller on selected short haul routes such as Amman and Cairo may also return – it ran for a couple of weeks recently as an experiment. Whether a free cup of tea is acceptable as ‘refreshments’ on a five hour flight is a different question, but it’s better than a bottle of water and a pretzel bag.

To be fair, Royal Jordanian (to Amman) and EgyptAir (to Cairo) run long haul aircraft on these routes for anyone who wants a flat bed in Business Class or more space and full meals in Economy – and Royal Jordanian offers Avios and BA tier points to Amman too.

Flying to India?

There is good news if you are flying to Delhi or Mumbai. All cabins will now get a second hot meal during the flight.

The airline has also announced that ‘chilled snacks’ will be placed in the Club Kitchen on these routes.

IFE improvements too

British Airways has also confirmed the completion of its IFE upgrade, which has doubled the number of items available. This includes the addition of Paramount+ content and a total of 395 movies and 770 audio titles. It does seem as if BA is getting competitive in this area, at least in comparison with other European airlines.

Heading to the loo?

In toilet news (and this was not part of yesterdays announcement, but I wanted to slot it in somewhere), British Airways has made the loos in the Galleries First and Concorde Room lounges at Heathrow unisex. I’m not sure about other lounges in Terminal 3 and Terminal 5.

It never made a lot of sense to have separate male and female loos, given that none contained urinals, and it led to unnecessary queues at times. A full refurbishment of these loos remains well overdue.

Is Calum the man for the job?

How much of the above reflects the appointment of Calum Laming as Chief Customer Officer remains to be seen.

If you thought that being, say, leader of the Conservative Party or Manchester United manager was bad for job security, it is nothing compared to being the British Airways ‘Chief Customer Officer’.

The first person to hold the title was, I think, Frank van der Post. Frank joined from Jumeirah Hotels, the Dubai-based hotel group with a strong reputation for customer service. Despite being well liked in the frequent flyer community, Frank left in 2014 after four years, allegedly frustrated with not being given the money he wanted for investment.

Frank was replaced by Troy Warfield. Warfield only lasted 18 months. His appointment raised eyebrows at the time because he had no airline experience, having previously worked at Avis and Kimberley-Clark, where he oversaw Andrex in Europe.

Warfield was replaced in 2017 by Carolina Martinoli who had done a similar role at Iberia. She was later promoted to the IAG board as Chief People Officer.

Tom Stevens, previously head of airport operations for BA, picked up the customer experience mandate on an interim basis during the pandemic. He was confirmed in the role in early 2021. In early 2022, he had a sudden desire to “pursue his ambition to work overseas” to quote BA.

Let’s see what Calum can do.


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Comments (301)

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

  • Chris R says:

    No issue with the snack, but BA should get back to a standard drinks service in economy asap. This is a small inexpensive gesture that will add more perceived value than it actually costs. Stop competing with the LCCs on price (they aren’t) and offer something differentiated

    • dougzz99 says:

      I’m not a regular LCC person by any means. But I find by the time I add in the extras to match what BA offer there’s remarkable similar pricing.

  • kitten says:

    And there was me thinking the idea of a chocolate flapjack was what people would be commenting on in this article

  • Jp says:

    Come on BA…free WiFi IFE should be available on all flights that have WiFi.

  • Bagoly says:

    I haven’t seen any comment from anybody in building management.
    My impression is that whether one likes self-contained loos rather than cubicles + basins (+ urinals), the self-contained setup will be standard in future:
    1) it enables (subject to signage) avoiding having one gender queueing and the other not
    2) it reduces the opportunity for harassment and so reduces the risk for employers/providers/building management of suffering reputation damage or monetary damages
    3) it fits with a general cultural move towards isolation and personal control rather than communality and tolerance

  • Bernard says:

    US airlines slumping after a lot of profit warnings as domestic fares slump back, but BA thinks a Flapjack will see off that coming problem. That’ll fix it then.

  • Dave Savage says:

    I recently flew LGW to Heraklion with BA (a 4 hour flight) – I was given a cup of cold water and a packet of pretzels !!

    Actually, I can’t believe I wrote that – it looks untrue, but it is true.

    On the return flight I had a cup of tea – I was charged £2.80 for a tea bag !!

    • Rob says:

      Banana cake from Wednesday!

    • Barry Graham says:

      None of the domestic flights in the USA have meals in economy, at least not with the airline I fly. Not even the coast to coast flights. But I do remember that even 30 years ago BA didn’t offer special meals when they did offer food on short haul flights.

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

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