British Airways airliner
British Airways: less leg room on short-haul flights Reuters

British Airways passengers on short-haul routes could find their next trip less comfortable after the airline unveiled plans to install non-reclining seats in the economy section of 35 aircraft.

Britain's flagship airline said on Monday (8 January) that the seats would be fitted on Airbus A320neos and A321neos, which will come into service later this year. The carrier added the decision to install non-reclining seats would allow it to slash ticket prices as competition with budget rivals intensifies.

"As well as new long-haul aircraft, we have 35 brand new short-haul planes arriving over the next five years," said a spokesman.

"We are installing at-seat power throughout the aircraft and will soon offer on-board WiFi.

"The new aircraft will have brand new seats set to a gentle recline to ensure everyone in the cabin enjoys a comfortable journey.

"These changes will also allow us to offer more low fares to customers."

Since Alex Cruz was appointed chief executive in 2015, the airline has undergone a series of changes aimed at making it more competitive against budget carriers but the response from customers has been far from positive.

It has come under intense scrutiny recently for a perceived no-frills approach which has had a negative impact on the quality of service. In January 2017, BA replaced free meals on its short-haul flights by introducing a range of Marks & Spencer sandwiches and snacks and in April admitted the plan could be rolled out to long-haul flights.

Cruz dismissed critics, however.

"I don't engage with running this airline into the ground," he said.