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British Airways is Bringing Back Buy On Board With Customers Expected to Order From Their Smartphone

British Airways is Bringing Back Buy On Board With Customers Expected to Order From Their Smartphone

British Airways is reintroducing a ‘buy on board’ option for passengers sat in its short-haul Euro Traveller cabin just months after the airline told customers to pre-order snacks and drinks at least 12-hours before departure.

Only long-life pre-packaged snacks and drinks will be available to buy onboard while fresh sandwiches and pies will still need to be ordered in advance of travel. Customers will be expected to order from their smartphones using in-flight WiFi with snacks then delivered by cabin crew straight to the customer’s seat.

British Airways temporarily halted its buy on board service in April 2020 as part of the airline’s response to the pandemic and in January, BA said it had ended its partnership with upmarket grocer Marks & Spencer in favour of a ‘buy before you fly’ concept.

By making passengers pre-order snacks before travel, British Airways was able to eliminate waste and significantly reduce costs. On the flip side, however, the airline realises it is losing out on sales on busy summer holiday flights where passengers are willing to indulge in the moment.

“We know that customers like being able to purchase their food in advance of travel and guarantee their first choice, however, we also understand the importance of an extra cup of tea or a gin and tonic,” commented BA’s director of brand and customer experience, Tom Stevens.

“We think that this new digital ordering proposition, coupled with our pre-purchase option is a winning combination, catering for everyone’s needs,” Stevens continued.

Customers will still be encouraged to reserve food and drink before travel via BA’s Speedbird Café website but passengers will also have the option to buy extras once they are onboard.

The service will only be available on aircraft fitted with inflight WiFi and passengers will need to use their own devices in order to place an order. Expected to launch on July 19, the service will be limited to a small number of routes initially and won’t launch on express routes because of the short flight time.

As well as giving passengers more ways to part with their money, British Airways will continue to give out a complimentary small bottle of water and snack on all short-haul services after recognising that passengers appreciated the small gesture.

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