British Airways is axing free meals on thousands of short-haul flights as part of inflight service cuts that it estimates will save £22m annually.
The UK flag carrier is stopping free meals and sandwiches after 10am on flights of less than 180 minutes out of Heathrow. Passengers will instead be offered a small snack and biscuits. Similar cutbacks have already been implemented on flights from Gatwick.
Other cost cuts are also being explored, including a review of the range of free alcoholic drinks on short-haul flights.
Long-haul economy passengers will have their free bottles of water replaced with “water cuplets” while those in business class will have their second meal, usually served before landing, reduced.
Similar cutbacks were implemented by BA chief executive Willie Walsh at his time at the helm of Aer Lingus.
The changes, which take effect next month, are being implemented by BA’s new head of customer experience Mark Hassell.
A spokesman said economy passengers would still get a free breakfast when flying before 10am. He told The Telegraph: “When you fly with British Airways the inflight catering is top class and, unlike some other airlines, it is free. It is not unusual to make small changes to avoid waste and save money where is makes sense and it meets customers’ changing tastes.”
But the British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association has criticised the new measures, writing in a memo to members: “It seems Hassell and Walsh are operating a joint strategy to sabotage the airline from within.”