Oh British Airways, how far you have fallen. What once was a full-service airline with a hot meal on every flight, has now become a plane with less variety than your corner shop! (Or 7/11 for those American readers).
Very recently on a long haul flight, a British Airways premium economy passenger was served a single cereal bar for breakfast.
Now, this might not have been much of a story if they had been in basic economy on a short haul flight, but international premium economy long haul?
It has made the industry start to wonder if there is any difference between British Airways and Norwegian.
British Brian Horton and his wife Di bought a return economy flight on BA to explore North America, having an uneventful flight to their destination. They were able to upgrade their meal on the outbound flight, choosing something tasty with an ice cream dessert. Before coming home, they decided to upgrade themselves for £500 ($638 US) to premium economy for the trip home.
Problems started to arise when they could not upgrade their meal for the flight home. Upon arriving at the airport, they noticed they were traveling on an older Boeing 777, without all the modern features you would come to expect.
After 8 hours on board and a disappointing main meal dish that was bland and tasteless, Brian Horton was served breakfast.
A single cereal bar and orange juice.
“An hour before landing after an eight-hour flight we were given an energy bar as our breakfast – I kept the wrapper as a souvenir. Our relatives back in the cheaper economy seats got a half frozen cheese bagel. It’s not what you expect from British Airways.” – Brit Brian Horton
Needless to say, Brian was incredibly disappointed. Especially since they had paid extra to be seated in Premium Economy which naturally has an expectation of a slightly better soft product. He has said that he has always been a British Airways loyalist and that he was incredibly disappointed. He has a further trip on British Airways and fears that he will very much get the same treatment.
What was the British Airways response?
British Airways has released this statement regarding the event:
Following a full meal service, the breakfast option is designed to offer a light snack before landing. Feedback is always passed on to our catering teams who check the quality of the food we serve on board every week. We have a £6.5bn five-year investment programme, including a multi-million pound investment in catering across all cabins.
In the past, Airlines have tried to maximize sleeping time on board night flights by serving a light breakfast closer to landing (For example a breakfast that does not require plates to be cleaned up). But in this case, it seems to be taken to the extreme. Plus, for an airline that is spending £6.5 billion pounds over five years, you think they could be a little more creative with their food options.
Overall, it is not a great selling point for British Airways and one has to wonder what even is the point upgrading from Economy to Premium economy on their airline. It gives evidence that it would be much better to save the points and splurge on Business or above if flying their airline at all.
What do you think? Is a cereal bar good enough for breakfast on premium economy?