Flying with budget airlines has become a lot more common over the last decade and as a result we now value “premium” airlines more. There are many reason why we value these airlines such as slightly more comfortable seats, the better service and the superior gate locations. However all these little perks aside there is one thing that I valued the most, which in my view is the flagship difference between budget and premium. That is when a little while after reaching cruising altitude a smiling stewardess offers me some drinks and a snack. The quality of this “offering” varies between airlines, with British airways definitely serving more high end treats such as their delicious wraps with exotic ingredients that are preferable to the standard bag of crisps. Now for reasons unknown to me BA has decided to stop offering this complementary service on short haul flights (under 5 hours).
From the 11th of January instead of being able to pick and choose some of the great wines or non alcoholic beverages for free you now have to pay. The section of goods available to be purchased now come from Marks & Spencer and the prices are only a little above market value, however many believe that this brings BA down to the level of Ryan Air and the like.
Now who is behind the theft of my Tomato Juice? A man named Álex Cruz who was one of the founders of the budget airline Click Air. He then merged with Vueling another budget airline from Spain (owned by the same company as BA). Since starting as Chairman of BA in april 2016 he has removed free newspapers, many amenities and is trying to cut back on workforce by outsourcing the middlemen at the airports. In my eyes and the eyes of Nick Trend the ‘Telegraphs’ travel editor this is a man who is using his experience from the budget airlines to turn BA into one as well. According to Trend this move “removed the final distinction between BA and its low cost rivals”.
BA has fallen in european airline rankings recently and some believe that this move is partially to blame. And when looking at the more successful airlines such as Turkish or Emirates that are growing hugely and turning over large sums of revenue exactly because they have such a fantastic service it would seem more logical to improve service rather than taking it away.
As if to add insult to injury it is not possible to pay by cash and when Cruz was asked whether this would result in cheaper airline tickets he responded no.