British Airways to Bring M&S Treats to the Skies
British Airways is partnering with Marks & Spencer to offer customers on short-haul flights the option to purchase a premium food range. The products replace the airline's current complimentary snacks, which officials say were unpopular with passengers.
The new British Airways menu will include items from the M&S Food on the Move selection and will be available in the economy cabin on short-haul and domestic flights from Heathrow and Gatwick from January 11, 2017, and from London City and London Stansted by summer 2017.
The collaboration follows extensive customer research and feedback, which highlighted dissatisfaction with the airline’s current short-haul economy catering, and found fliers want more choices that reflect what they would normally select when out and about.
Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “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. Like British Airways, Marks & Spencer is a well-known, premium British brand that is respected and trusted, so it’s an ideal partnership, providing our customers with a choice of products they recognise and value.”
“I firmly believe what we are delivering breaks the mould and sets a new standard in short-haul catering. We will be providing a selection of premium brand, fresh food options and a menu that will be refreshed on a quarterly basis.
"We will also enable travellers to be able to use their Avios, the points they earn as an Executive Club member, to purchase meals. We know they’re always looking for ways to use their Avios and this is a great option for them.”
Prices will range from £1 for hand cooked crisps up to £4.95 for a Balanced for You spiced chicken with quinoa and rice salad. Throughout the year, the aim is to deliver bespoke items designed specifically for British Airways customers by Marks & Spencer. Elements of the menu will also change on a quarterly basis to reflect the seasons.
Payment will be quick and easy via debit or credit card, including contactless transactions. Customers will also be able to pay with Avios via the BA app or with their Executive Club card.
The range will include a number of great fresh options as well as packaged products that are easy for customers to eat on the flight or take with them for their onward journey.
The airline will be the first to serve M&S sandwiches fortified with both vitamin D (good for healthy bones and teeth) and added fibre helping customers boost these essential nutrients, providing at least 15 per cent of the daily recommended requirement of Vitamin D. Because of their strong umami flavours, the sandwiches work particularly well at altitude, where taste buds behave differently.
The airline will also offer customers a full bar service with soft drinks priced from £1.50 and alcoholic drinks from £4.
Club Europe (short-haul business class) customers will continue to be offered a full, complimentary menu, which is also being improved and revamped from spring 2017 as part of the changes to short-haul catering. Further details will be released on the changes nearer the time.
This is the latest in a tranche of updates to the airline’s short-haul services. Since 2014, 95 short-haul aircraft have been revamped with an updated interior, which is proving very popular with customers. Earlier in 2016, British Airways also simplified its short-haul fares to just three options: Basic, Plus and Plus Flex. Customers purchasing a 'Plus' fare benefit in particular, thanks to the additional flexibility of being able to change their flight on the day of travel for free – an option that wasn't available on the previous standard fare.