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BA customers who have booked short-haul flights for next year told they won't receive free food

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Lucinda Borrell
Lucinda Borrell
Editor
5 October 2016

Passengers who have booked certain short-haul flights with British Airways taking off from 11 January next year may want to pack some extra snacks after the airline announced it will no longer be providing complimentary food and drink.

If you've booked a BA flight lasting less than five hours that departs from London Heathrow or Gatwick, you'll be expected to pay for in-flight refreshments from 11 January 2017.

BA is in the process of emailing affected travellers to inform them that it's "upgrading" its food offering to a new "buy-onboard menu range" provided by Marks & Spencer.

BA customer Christine told us: "Our flights have been booked for over three months and obviously, at the time, we understood that food and drink would be provided onboard the flight. I fail to see how this can be an upgrade, when they are removing the benefit and charging us for refreshments taken."

Currently BA offers a free snack (such as a bacon roll) and a drink on shorter flights, but from 11 January passengers will instead be offered a range of paid-for M&S products.

Will complimentary food be binned on other BA flights too?

Those booking short-haul flights with BA from London City Airport and Stansted Airport will no longer receive complimentary food and drink from next summer, although an exact date is yet to be confirmed.

There are currently no plans to do away with complimentary refreshments on BA long-haul flights.

What is a short-haul flight?

BA classes any flight lasting less than five hours as being a short-haul flight.

This means that most flights within Europe will be affected as well as all domestic flights within the UK.

What if I've already booked?

BA says there will be no exceptions made for customers who had already purchased tickets for short-haul flights prior to its announcement.

However, a spokesperson has confirmed that customers unhappy with the changes can contact the BA customer relations team on 0344 493 0787.

How much will the paid-for food cost?

The airline has confirmed that while customers have to pay for their food, each item available will cost under £5. But customers will only be able to pay for items using credit and debit cards or via the BA app. Cash will not be accepted.

Why is BA no longer offering complimentary refreshments?

BA claims that feedback from flyers showed that short-haul catering wasn't valued and that passengers wanted more choice and quality in their catering options.

Alex Cruz, BA chairman and chief executive, says: "We know our customers expect a great experience with British Airways. They've told us we are experts in flying and service, but when it comes to catering on short-haul flights they want to choose from a wide range of premium products."

BA customers who have booked short-haul flights for next year told they won't receive free food

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