British Airways criticised for selling ‘afternoon tea’ that doesn’t include any tea

Helen Coffey

British Airways has come under fire for offering a new “afternoon tea” that doesn’t come with any tea.

The package is part of the airline’s latest short-haul menu and costs £5.

It features a scone, jam and cream – but passengers expecting a cuppa have been left disappointed.

Tea must be ordered separately and costs £2.50 extra.

Some have argued that the description of the afternoon tea in the inflight magazine is misleading.

It reads: “An indulgent sultana scone served with traditional clotted cream and delicious strawberry preserve – pair it with a hot cup of Tea Pigs Everyday Brew for an authentic cream team experience."

“Wouldn’t calling it ‘Afternoon tea’ without any tea be false advertising? Surely a reasonable person would expect tea with afternoon tea?” wrote one commenter on forum Flyertalk.

Another said it could be in breach of the Trades Description Act, while one enterprising participant copied and pasted the dictionary definition of an afternoon tea: “variable noun – afternoon tea is a small meal you can have in the afternoon. It includes a cup of tea and food such as sandwiches and cakes.”

Customers also expressed their disappointment on social media. Mark Whiteside tweeted a picture of the afternoon tea listing alongside the caption: “Um, British Airways does your Afternoon Tea onboard not actually come with tea? I’m paying a fiver just for the scone and the teas extra? .... What?”

Ben Fletcher wrote a similarly caustic response on Twitter: “Let me guess, British Airways, you removed the tea from afternoon tea based on customer feedback in order to enhance the afternoon experience?”

Lizzie on Flyertalk perhaps summed it up best: “For us Brits it’s almost the law that afternoon tea includes tea. I dare say it’s the equivalent of an American buying a beefburger then being told it doesn’t include the bread roll which has to be purchased separately.”

British Airways said in a statement: “Whether it’s a traditional cup of tea, our new espresso martini or a bottle of champagne, we offer a wide range of beverages to allow customers to choose which option they pair our popular afternoon tea with.”