Passengers travelling on short-haul British Airways flights will no longer enjoy free meals from August 2009. Instead they will get no more than a packet of pretzels and something to quench their thirst.
Only breakfasts on flights before 10am will be retained in a move that is set to save the airline £22 million a year. Even snacks for purchase, as offered by budget airlines, will not be offered.
The move comes amid drastic measures to cut costs as the airline industry faces record losses, and many passengers find themselves downgrading from business class or flying less to cope with recession pressures.
The airline, Europe’s third busiest, recorded losses last year in excess of £400 and have had to ask more than 800 staff to fore-go a month’s salary – or eight per cent salary cut – to help reduce expenses.
“When you fly with BA the in-flight catering is top class, and unlike other airlines it’s free”, said a BA spokesperson. “It’s not unusual to make small changes to avoid waste and save money, when it makes sense and meets our customers’ changing tastes”.
BA has come under increasing pressure in recent years from budget airlines who offer no-frills prices that forego the usual services such as complimentary food and drink on board. These are now sold in-flight at premium prices, normally in-line with airports.