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British Airways to stop free snacks and drinks on short haul flights

A commercial airliner lands at Washington Dulles International Airport.
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A commercial airliner lands at Washington Dulles International Airport.

British Airways has announced it will stop serving free snacks on short-haul flights, and will introduce a pay-on-board menu from premium U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer.

The cut will also see an end to free alcoholic and soft drinks.

The decision to remove free food from economy class comes six months after Alex Cruz took over as British Airways chief executive and chairman.

In a statement Thursday, Cruz said the airline was acting on what customers wanted.

"They've told us we are experts in flying and service, but when it comes to catering on short-haul flights, they want to choose from a wider range of premium products," he said.

The move will start with flights from Gatwick and Heathrow on 11th January 2017 and is set to expand to flights from London City and Stansted airports by summer 2017.

British Airways said all items on the menu will cost less than £5 ($6.50) and business-class passengers on short haul flights will still receive complimentary food.

In the same statement, the director of food at Marks & Spencer, Andy Adcock, said his company was proud to be supplying an airline "with a reputation for quality and customer service that mirrors our own."