This week's decision by British Airways (BA) to scrap its free meals on short-haul flights has been branded a long overdue move by industry analysts.
Tony Horton, chief executive at Tricon Foodservice Consultants said: "The short-haul service on BA looks like a dinosaur.
"Short-haul air travel is not dissimilar to jumping on a bus or a train. It should be on time, with the opportunity to grab a sandwich from Pret A Manger or Boots, but there is no need for airlines to serve food on short flights."
Another industry consultant added that regular short-haul travellers already often opt out of onboard meals.
"The decision has been waiting to be made," he said. "This sends out a message to all BA staff and contractors that the company really is in financial trouble." BA posted pre-tax losses of £148m for the three months to 30 June this year.
Horton added BA could have gone further and removed breakfast from its short-haul service, as passengers often eat in the airport prior to take off.
BA withdrew meals on short-haul flights after 10am from 3 August. Snacks and drinks will be served instead of a sandwich, but there will be no option to buy food.
A BA spokesman said: "It is not unusual to make small changes to avoid waste and save money where it makes sense and meets customers' changing tastes."
By Janie Stamford
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