British Airways Considers Eliminating Free Meals on Transatlantic Flights

British Airways eliminated free meals in economy on intra-European flights, and even free hot water if you bring your own tea bags. They’re reducing leg room, too.

Now they’re saying that they’ll consider no more free meals in coach on long haul flights, too.

Asked whether paid meals “could be extended to economy tickets on long-haul flights, [British Airways CEO Alex Cruz said] ‘We might do it.'”

In a statement issued later, BA said: “We have no plans currently for a buy-on-board economy product on long-haul, but if that is what interests customers of the future, we will listen.”

British Airways says they want to be more of a premium airline, albeit without good seats in business class and facing cut backs even in First.

However for coach passengers — while a change isn’t imminent — their current management philosophy is to be open to cutting meals on flights over 10 hours like Los Angeles – London, London – Johannesburg, and London – Singapore.

At one time the natural response to a question of ‘will you eliminate free meals in coach on a 12 hour flight?’ would have been “bloody hell, fish fingers and scones will always be served to British Airways passengers.” Not anymore.

On the one hand I’d be tempted to say that I hoped Brexit would mean BA’s CEO, who used to run low cost carrier Vueling, would having to leave the U.K. On the other hand the approach to customers and product is really driven by Willie Walsh.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’m sorry, but your posting is click-bait. BA is actually NOT considering eliminating free meals on transatlantic flights. It’s a meaningless musing, quickly taken back because people like you will try to make much more of it than the author intended.

    Reminds me of the front page NYTimes story by Chris Elliott a few years ago with the breathtaking news that Airbus was “considering” planes with standing-only seats. It was also a meaningless musing, and there were no real intention of offering such aircraft.

    Obviously, if the Norwegian-model becomes wildly popular, BA may indeed have to eliminate free coach meals. But they have no current intention to do that now.

  2. Every few weeks it seems BA is doing its best to not compete especially against the ME 3. At this rate BA will be out of business in a few years’ time!

  3. @iahphx – No, they absolutely said they’d consider the idea something that in the past BA would never have said. They’re 100% open to this.

  4. I hope they drop the meals soon. Their food is lousy anyway and the lighter load will be better for the environment.

  5. I am not trying to be a hater and hope you delete this comment after you tell me what the words are trying to say in the last paragraph.

  6. I wish all carriers would drop meal service on eastbound East Coast to London flights. Give us a couple more hours to sleep. Westbound is different, West Coast is different.

  7. As a BA gold level tier member for consecutive years running now, I think I have finally lost my patience with BA’s across the board cuts in all cabins. This airline is now a sad image of what it once was. I fear , as many other do to, that their new CEO – Cruz- is gradually running this airline to be a glorified Ryan Air. Their new motto is “New Thinking New Flight” ……..well they forgot to add the third part…..New Cuts. I will now seek to join another airline alliance, even if I have to start all over again at a bottom tier level. At least I will not feel so bad in handing over the $30,000 to $50,000 I spend a year on airline tickets to a company that seeks continually to cut back and diminish the the quality and services that I pay for to travel in their premium cabins. ( A copy of this comment is going to BA’s CEO. not that I expect any answer whatsoever from them)

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