British Airways has been trying to regain its reputation as a premium carrier, after years of cutbacks under CEOs Willie Walsh and Alex Cruz. But the instinct to cut costs runs deep at Waterside. A new initiative, under the guise of conservation, has them reducing the amount of food on board.
According to an internal company memo they will no longer load enough catering so that all passengers can eat. This assumes that some passengers will prefer to skip meals in order to sleep. And it will allow them to ‘reduce waste.’
- The amount of food eaten on board is less than what’s loaded, and that does mean waste.
- They can estimate and build models for how much food they’ll need.
- But previous trials that BA has undertaken have left flights without enough food for everyone on board.
In the coming weeks, British Airways will put that theory to the test by no longer loading enough meals for every passenger on certain late-night and early-morning flights.
An internal memo explained that the project’s ultimate goal was to cut down on mountains of food waste that accumulate at the end of every long-haul flight.
…British Airways insiders, however, claim that previous experiments to reduce food waste at the airline meant customers had to go hungry because there weren’t enough meals for everyone who wanted to eat.
BA will not be alone in loading food at less than a 1:1 ratio to passengers. There are even companies that assist using artificial intelligence to track how much food is uneaten on each flight and predict future consumption in order to reduce catering waste and lower costs.
It’s a good reminder, though, that your ticket for a flight with meal service does not, in fact, entitle you to a meal. It only entitles you to food if there’s any left when crew reach your row.
Update: British Airways offers,
We’re continuing to invest in our catering experience and are focused on providing great food and drink which our customers love, whilst working hard to reduce our food waste. We’re reviewing meal loading on flights where we are seeing consistent patterns of food waste while ensuring all customers that request a meal receive one.