When the food service policy of one meal instead of two was introduced for passengers seated in the economy class cabin during flights of up to 8.5 hours in duration operated by British Airways last month, the airline may have underestimated the backlash by its customers.
Additionally, this new policy also applies to passengers seated in the premium economy class cabin during flights of up to seven hours in duration.
Economy Passengers Upset About No Second Meal On Select British Airways Flights
Instead, passengers who are hungry must either go without eating for the remainder of the flight; or scavenge for sustenance amongst whatever complimentary “ambient” snacks and beverages are being offered — and the meal which was eliminated was the second meal which used to be served during the affected flights, which reduces the number of options available to passengers in terms of bringing food aboard the airplane with them, as that food must be able to last for several hours.
The duration of many flights between the United Kingdom and the east coasts of both the United States and Canada is typically between seven and eight hours — meaning that those transatlantic flights are affected by the aforementioned change in food service.
“Yeah, a Mars bar will certainly satisfy after 6-7 hours in flight…particularly on the sometimes longer westbound flights…” FlyerTalk member rwoman sarcastically griped.
Certain Flights Within Europe Also Affected With Reduction Of Food
Instead of the usual sandwich or small snack box, passengers aboard an airplane on a flight from Gatwick Airport near London to Faro Airport in Portugal were offered a choice of potato chips, nuts or a cookie of sorts — similar to options offered for domestic flights operated by British Airways.
“I asked the crew about this and they said that the change had only recently been made and they apologised and acknowledged that the change hadn’t been publicized”, posted FlyerTalk member gazchaps. “I was a bit miffed — had I have know I’d have grabbed a sandwich at Pret. As it was, I was starving by the time I arrived!”
Unlike aboard airplanes operated by ultra-low-cost carriers — whose airfares are typically significantly lower than those of legacy airlines such as British Airways — passengers of flights operated by British Airways do not have the option of purchasing meals. “This is actually worse than flying Easyjet, where there is at least the option of buying food, rather than going hungry”, noted FlyerTalk member Coromandel.
As proof, the following chart with a comparison of sample routes served by EasyJet, Ryanair and British Airways was posted in this article of The Telegraph, which is one of many media outlets covering the response by customers who are not happy with the updated food service now offered by British Airways…
|London to Edinburgh||£58||£47||£91|
|London to Madrid||£106||£99||£126|
|London to Palma||£163||£185||£262|
|London to Budapest||£203||£147||£282|
|London to Barcelona||£186||£180||£206|
…so who in their right mind would pay as much as £79 for a small bag of potato chips and a paltry amount of Avios?
For an airline which is supposed to be known for its service, the decision of eliminating a second meal on long-haul flights of up to 8.5 hours might turn out to be more costly for British Airways than the airline had hoped to save, as even reducing the size of the second meal might have been a viable alternative.
The good news is that the choices of alcohol and complimentary snacks will not be affected on long-haul flights of up to 8.5 hours in duration — but that is of little solace to the majority of customers of British Airways.
“We offer customers on all of our transatlantic flights a three course meal, bar service and snacks and on our longer transatlantic flights, including to the west coast, customers are offered an extra meal during the flight”, a spokesman for British Airways said, according to the aforementioned article at The Telegraph. “We regularly review our catering to ensure we are investing where it matters most to our customers.”
While the sound of a “three course meal” sounds sumptuous — to the point of sounding like part of a banquet — Zorks know the reality as to the actual size and portions served with those meals served in the economy class cabin, which typically would not keep passengers satiated for the remainder of a long flight…
…so if British Airways regularly reviews “our catering to ensure we are investing where it matters most to our customers”, perhaps it is time to evaluate and adjust the food service policy so that it is more reasonable to economy class passengers on long-haul flights?
One thing is for certain: a “fun-size” chocolate bar does not cut it as a replacement for a second meal…
Featured image @ British Airways