In a move that signals a return to its premium roots, British Airways is reintroducing complimentary drinks and a small meal for its Euro Traveller (Economy Class) passengers (according to PYOK which first reported it), but only on two specific short-haul routes. This decision, which comes after years of cost-cutting measures, is a clear indication of the airline’s intent to reclaim its status as a premium carrier.
The Latest Offering
Starting from September 7, passengers flying to or from Amman, Jordan, and Cairo, Egypt, on BA will be treated to an enhanced in-flight experience. The breakfast option includes a pastrami-filled croissant, a Nutrigrain bar, and an Actimel milk drink. For the rest of the day, passengers can enjoy a chicken-filled roll, popcorn, and a Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bar. Additionally, a complimentary gin and tonic, as well as tea and coffee, will be available. And for added comfort, passengers will also receive a blanket. However, it’s worth noting that BA has no plans to replace its short-haul Airbus A320 aircraft on these routes with widebody long-haul aircraft featuring reclining seats.
A Look Back
In 2017, British Airways made a controversial move. The airline replaced its complimentary meals with a buy-on-board scheme (now called the High Life Shop which replaced the original Marks & Spencer’s). Then-CEO Alex Cruz not only implemented this change but also gloated about it in 2019. This decision was met with significant dissatisfaction from passengers, many of whom felt that BA was in a race to the bottom, trying to compete with low-cost carriers like Ryanair and EasyJet.
Six years ago, BA axed free drinks and meals from its Economy Class on short-haul flights. This category even includes destinations beyond Europe, such as North Africa’s Marrakesh and Cairo, and Amman in the Middle East. However, the airline is now trying to reverse course by introducing water and a snack to economy passengers.
With the challenges of the pandemic and a change in leadership, BA began revisiting some of its past decisions. Chief Executive Sean Doyle recognizes the need to cater to a clientele that expects a service level above competitors. This led to the reintroduction of complimentary water bottles and snacks for all Euro Traveller flights, followed by the offering of free tea and coffee.
British Airways’ decision to reintroduce complimentary meals and drinks on select routes is a testament to its commitment to enhancing the passenger experience. As the airline industry continues to evolve, BA’s moves indicate a focus on balancing cost-efficiency with customer satisfaction.