Joining its low-cost and hybrid competition, the national carrier of the United Kingdom, British Airways (BA), will stop serving free snacks on board its European flights, as well as on all other flights under five hours. The move comes as a result of a deal signed with Marks & Spencer (M&S), which will supply food for BA, and passengers will be able to choose between a wider range of snacks. Business Class passengers will continue to enjoy free meals on all flights.

Passengers 'want tochoose from a wider range of products'

The current CEO of BA, Alex Cruz, claims that the decision is a response to the wishes of passengers who wanted a wider choice of snacks on board short haul flights.

“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 wider range of premium products.” Cruz explained. His decision, however, has found many supporters and opponents. Supporters argue that the decision to offer M&S food is a good one for the quality of the meals offered, instead of leaving passengers with poor free catering. Others argue, that with the abolishment of a free meal service, the only thing that distinguishes BA from its low-cost competition is its baggage allowance and flights out of London Heathrow.

British Airways is by no means the first carrier to take free meal service out of its short-haul Economy Class.

Recent examples include Air Berlin and Czech Airlines, all which have introduced their paid menus in an attempt to cut costs. So is BA’s statement that it's supposed to offer a wider range of options to its passengers, merely a hidden message, which states that the airline would need to make some cuts? The airline recently recorded huge losses due to a technical fault which caused various flight cancellations and the competition from low-cost carriers is steadily growing. BA thus needs to step up its game and become cost efficient in the process in order to be able to rival the constant pressure and keep its flights on its European routes loaded.