It was an odd experience to watch the British TV show "A Very British Airline." In the TV show, the camera follow the day to day of the airline as they deal with issues and problems. Standing out to me was the flight attendant training for first and business class cabins. The training shows so much emphasis on treating the customer well, have great food available. Customer service is the highest priority taught to the attendants.
Then comes reality. If you've ever actually flown a British Airways flight, the story is likely hit or miss on if they actually achieve what they are selling. Customer services can be unfriendly, and impersonal. Food isn't great, but run of the mill.It just seems like the values the company wants to sell are pushed hard on the ground, but completely without reinforcement once the employees start working full time. However, the one stand out as a US Citizen, was that BA always gave a small meal, even on short flights.
In a move that seems to be a regression to the last decade of flying, BA will start to charge for all meals. In the US, airlines have started to compete again on offering small snacks and food without charge. Larger meals still are charged for, but small snacks have been added back to the flights with no additional charge. As airlines in the US start moving forward with customer service again, British Airways is going in the reverse direction.
This is likely a money saving effort, one that had already been a little controversial when British Airways implemented a similar policy for longer haul cross Atlantic flights. No food on an international flight? That just seems crazy. Now this policy is leaking into the European market.
I know that many US readers are used to policies like this, but British Airways is taking it one step further than we're used to seeing in the US. No more free drinks in the economy class cabin either for short haul flights. Soda will now cost you £1.50. This means now drinks of any kind, even water, without being charged. So forget the idea of keeping hydrated on the plane anymore, bring you own water... well buy it in the airport and bring it because it isn't allowed through security.
British Airways tries to sell itself as an upscale airline. They attempt to make it seem like their focus is on customer service and offering the best product. In reality, their seats are worse than almost all the competition, service is very spotty, and food/drinks are now being removed.
Attracting customers is a difficult proposition, but removing features and offering poor business class and first class seats is not the answer. British Airways really needs to get it's act together. They will not survive in today's world if they continue to offer sub-par flights.