British Airways considers scrapping free meals to broaden menu for customers

19th May 2016

British Airways is considering scrapping free meals for economy-class passengers on short-haul flights, in a bid to offer customers greater choice and respond to changing customer priorities.

According to media reports, the airline’s chief executive, Alex Cruz, is considering bringing in a range of premium food products, in an effort to boost the company's revenues and offer customers cheaper fares. 

It’s a strategy that rival airlines have reaped the benefits from. British Airways’ competitor easyJet has charged customers for food and drink since its first take off in 1995, and now flies 42% of passengers travelling from Gatwick Airport. 

“We are constantly reviewing every element of the experience our customers receive, including the in-flight catering, to ensure we’re delivering what they want,” a spokesman for British Airways said in response to the media claims. “Everything we do is with our customers in mind and we will make changes that reflect their feedback.”

Of the 28 transport operators included in the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) from the Institute of Customer Service, British Airways ranked 6th, with a score of 79.3 (out of 100). 

Catering for choice and adapting services to meet customers’ changing priorities should be at the forefront of companies’ service strategies – but Jo Causon, the Institute’s chief executive, notes that organisations need to be sure they can uphold revisions long-term. “Any changes organisations make to improve customer satisfaction must be sustainable, genuinely lead from the board and be supported across the whole organisation,” she says. “The key is to build an organisation that is outward facing, that links its strategy, processes and systems, and culture and rewards appropriately.”   

Click here to download the latest UKCSI report for the transport sector.

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