Today we are flying from Heathrow to Berlin. It’s our first experience of the ‘improved’ British Airways service, which offers paid drinks and snacks.
Thankfully, it’s only a short flight, as the stories I’ve heard about poor service just keep adding to my growing disenchantment with this airline. It seems not a week passes without a British Airways horror story making the headlines.
Today, we will see for ourselves, whether the British Airways short-haul economy service is as bad as it has been made out to be.
Introducing a paid food service
I have no issue paying for drinks and sandwiches on flights which cost a pittance. However, the cheapest I’ve ever paid for two British Airways flights is £70, and that is because they were reward flights. Frankly, I find British Airways flights overpriced compared to the competition, so I struggle to comprehend how the airline can justify these flight prices, and charge you for in-flight snacks and drinks!
Begrudgingly, I have to confess, the menu is reasonably priced. Crisps start from £1 and sandwiches from £3. Y0u can even grab this lush looking yoghurt and fruit concoction for £1.95.
The sandwiches do look pretty appetising and probably don’t cost much more than if they were bought in M&S. You can take your pick from an inspired choice, including harissa chicken and couscous salad. Just check out the full menu here.
As with European budget airlines, you will now also have to pay for ALL drinks in economy on short-haul flights. Soft drinks start from £1.80, hot drinks from £2.30 and wines from £4.50. Check out the full drinks menu here, but note the only evidence of ‘improvement’ is that you can enjoy a glass of prosecco for £6
At first, I think the service seems pretty efficient, with staff patrolling the economy class cabin taking orders on IPADs. I mistakenly believe these are food orders, and think it a great improvement on the usual cart blocking the aisle. It turns out this is actually in-flight duty-free sales. Bizarrely, shop sales take priority over food and drink sales, which may explain the complaints about passengers not being served drinks at all.
If you get thirsty on flights, you may wish to bring some water onboard, as you might pass out from dehydration before they get to you! Maybe this is deliberate as I don’t see many people purchasing. It is clear the message about paid service has filtered down as I also do not hear any complaints. However, whilst paid service on EasyJet or Ryanair flights doesn’t seem to deter people from ordering a G&T, the same cannot be said of the British Airways paid service.
Perhaps many others are taking the same view as me, and refusing to pay extra for drinks and food after paying for a premium ticket.
Other ways to pay
If you are looking for a way to burn through any spare AVIOS, you can use your AVIOS to pay. Take note, British Airways do not accept CASH, so if you don’t come prepared, you will have to do without.
I guess my verdict is that forewarned is forearmed. The service is certainly not as expensive as it could be, but a couple jetting off for a weekend, are still going to pay around £40 extra. That assumes they each enjoy just one glass of wine and a sandwich.
It just begs the question, what will they charge for next? Have you experienced the new, enhanced service and if so, what did you think? Also, have you heard the rumour that this service might be extended to long-haul?