Marks & Spencer’s Headquarters in central London was the site for a hushed meeting earlier this week that spoke to the worried rumors that had been swirling for some time about upcoming changes on a subject near and dear to many hearts – meals on British Airways. Fortunately, our very own Henrik Olsen with our Danish InsideFlyer site was one of the chosen invitees, and gave us the inside scoop.
British Airways’ CEO Alex Cruz told the roughly dozen strong group of journalists that the focus and challenge was to increase quality and selections for people riding in coach on short-haul flights while maintaining the cheapest products for sale in the air. He also hinted that a cost perspective was involved as previous items saw a lot of return and waste. Impossible task?
The result was a partnership between the well-known luxury British retailer Marks & Spencer. Bullet points in the press release revealed that all items in the new Food on the Move section of the menu would be priced under £5, with choices that were selected from Marks & Spencer (M&S) favorites and included vegetarian and snack options –
Crisps start at £1 and the most expensive item on the menu is the Balanced for You spiced chicken with quinoa and rice salad at £4.95.
Here are a few screenshots of some of the items from the menu:
Here’s a video showcasing the new products:
Here’s the new menu, which will change seasonally:
• Aberdeen Angus beef and red onion chutney bloomer (£4.75)
• Classic cheese ploughman’s with nine-month aged farmhouse mature cheddar and vine ripened tomatoes, pickle and mixed salad (£3.00)
• Tomato and mozzarella focaccia (£4.75)
• Greek style natural yogurt with summer berry compote and granola (£1.95)
• Classic fruit salad with pineapple, melon, mango, apple, kiwi and blueberries (£3.10)
• M&S Café bacon roll with pork from British farmers (£4.75)
• Nut assortment of almonds, brazil, cashew and hazelnuts (£1.60)
• Wasabi peas (£1.60)
• Salted cashews (£1.60)
• Oriental snack mix (£2)
• Super fruit, nut and seed flapjacks (£1.45)
• Salt & vinegar and lightly salted hand-cut crisps (both £1 or 125 Avios)
• Made without wheat salted caramel hazelnut millionaire bar (£1.45),
• Grab-bag sized milk chocolate covered popping popcorn and pretzels (£2.45)
• Packs of mini oat biscuits (£1.10)
• Swiss milk chocolate mountain bars (£1.70)
• The famous Percy Pigs (£1.80)
• ‘The Whippy One’ (£1)
• Water (£1.80 or 225 Avios)
• Tea/coffee (£2.30 or 300 Avios)
• Gin & Tonic (£6 or 750 Avios)
• Small bottle of wine (£4.50 or 575 Avios)
Our journalist found the products to be better tasting, but saw a huge drawback. All drinks will cost money now. If you’re thinking it won’t be an issue because you’ll just skip the wine, note that even tea, coffee, and water won’t come free. Not even those with BA Gold status will be exempt.
Charging for water will sound absurd to many. Some airlines that provide it for a fee begrudgingly give out a small paper cup with a tiny amount for those begging to take medication, while others stoically reply that it’ll cost.
You can pay with debit or credit card to quench your thirst and for those light in the wallet, food and drink items can be also purchased with Avios right from your BA App or via your BA Executive Club card.
As an example, a small bottle of wine will set you back either £4.50 or 575 Avios. This will not be the best use of Avios for most but it doesn’t look horrible.
The new British Airways menus including the Food on the Move selections will be rolled out on short-haul and domestic flights from London Heathrow and Gatwick starting January 11, 2017 and from London City and London Stansted beginning summer 2017. The new menus will replace the current British Airways complimentary snacks and drinks.
For those traveling in Club Europe (short-haul business class), a full complimentary meal will continue to be served. As part of the modifications to short-haul food service, spring 2017 is the expected date for an “improved and revamped” menu there.
What do you think of the upcoming changes? Good to have several options including fresh items, or disappointing that complimentary snacks and drinks are being removed?
(Top Photo by: Nick Morrish/British Airways)