Details: British Airways’ New Onboard Catering

Filed Under: British Airways

Airlines around the world are adjusting service protocols in light of coronavirus. It’s interesting to note the vastly different approaches that airlines are taking.

For example, comparing premium cabin service:

We now have a sense of what British Airways’ new meal service concept will look like, per Head for Points.

British Airways’ new onboard catering

As of June 16, 2020, British Airways will be introducing new onboard catering. It’s expected that this will be on offer for at least a few months, though we’ll have to see how this evolves.

For the past several weeks the airline has had virtually no service, even in first class on a long haul flight. You’d simply find a bag at your seat upon boarding with a wrapped sandwich, a Kit Kat, and a bottle of water.

That’s finally changing, as British Airways will be introducing a new catering concept that minimizes interaction while offering a more substantial service than before. All meals will be served in snack boxes.

What should you expect if flying British Airways?

First class catering

In first class British Airways will offer a boxed salad, appetizer, bread, a hot dish, and a trio of desserts. First class is the only cabin in which British Airways will be serving any hot food.

For long haul daytime flights, a (boxed) traditional afternoon tea will be served before landing, with sandwiches, scones, and macarons.

Business class (Club World) catering

In long haul business class a cold meal will be served, including a salad, sandwich, cheese and crackers, and dessert. If you’re going to be hungry during the flight then you might want to pack your own snacks, because it doesn’t look like much food.

On overnight flights there will be a cold breakfast, including yogurt, granola, a muffin, and more.

Business class (Club Europe) catering

In short haul business class a cold snack will be served, which on daytime flights could include a sandwich, small appetizer, and small dessert.

Premium economy (World Traveller Plus) & economy (World Traveller) catering

Long haul premium economy and long haul economy will feature the same meal service, which could include a small sandwich, appetizer, and dessert.

For breakfast you could expect a sandwich, some bread, and a yogurt.

Economy class (Euro Traveller) catering

In short haul economy British Airways used to have a buy on board concept, but right now just serves free water and a packaged snack. In many ways that’s actually an improvement over the old service.

What about drink services?

British Airways will resume drink services, including of alcohol. Personally I’m curious to see what this looks like in practice:

  • In first class will they constantly offer drink refills, or will they serve a drink with a meal and that’s it?
  • Will they offer the same alcohol as usual, or will the selection be watered down given that service perhaps won’t be as extensive?

Bottom line

As you can see, airlines are taking different approaches to onboard service in light of coronavirus. Personally I respect whatever approach airlines choose to take in the short-term. Flying won’t be fun no matter what for a while, and I recognize that there’s no right or wrong answer in terms of what service should be provided.

I will say that British Airways’ new catering looks like a significant improvement over the current situation, so I commend them for that. That being said, British Airways definitely took more of the Turkish Airlines approach, rather than the Emirates, Lufthansa, or SWISS approach.

What do you make of British Airways’ new onboard catering?

Comments
  1. Is it me or does ‘Enjoy your menu!’ not make any sense? Seems like pretty clumsy wording. Surely it should be enjoy your meal?

  2. I’d give BA a bit more credit:
    1) I see these more than just a ‘snack’ – they look like full meals;
    2) the actual food on BA has always been tastier even if not presented fancier than LH;
    3) no one expects 3* restaurant quality food on planes anyway… or shouldn’t.

  3. Their FCL meal looks like what you got in PE prior Covid19. Suuuuure, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with cutting cost, BA

  4. @JDS — at least to my American ears “Enjoy your menu” sounds wrong, suggesting that the paper menu might make a better and more wholesome meal than what is being served. Maybe its common in the UK, but I’ve never heard it. Bon appetit would have made more sense, as that phrase is equally trite in both US and UK versions of English.

  5. @John — that’d be politically incorrect for BA. They are, after all, British, not European. 😉

  6. They’re doing an excellent job in making make sure I delay my return to flying some more. Kudos.

  7. For boxed airplane meals, they actually look quite good. I would take them over what AA servers normally…

  8. Pictures don’t mean shit. Why is it that only F can get a hot meal? If people don’t see this is as cost cutting and having little to do with health/contact, you’re blind.

  9. Here in the UK we are still on partial lockdown, restaurants, bars, pubs and hotels are all still closed with only take outs allowed. I imagine the Do&Co catering facilities at LHR have strict Covid secure procedures in place which restricts some types of food preparation, storage and transport to the plane. Sealed from the point of prep to the point of consumption. As our lockdown eases next month I imagine the onboard offerings will also evolve. Virgin has a very similar on board offering too.

  10. My first reaction at the header image was “wow that’s actually not bad”…

    And then I found out it was for int’l F, not int’l Y.

  11. @ John

    I live in the UK, and, no, it doesn’t make sense over here either.

    And you’re right, it sounds like you should just eat the paper menu instead…

  12. I, too, plan to select the “book the cook” option of a paper menu. Perhaps BA will even be gracious enough to offer a lactose-intolerant, gluten-intolerant, nausea-intolerant meal in long-haul F, which consists of a PVC-laminated paper menu so that when you inevitably heave the contents of your stomach back up, it will conveniently form a self-sealing “barf bag.”

  13. Flying club Europe to Mykonos on July 14- stay tuned! I too am curious about the quality of the booze they will serve now

  14. OK, so LH has better food.

    But is anyone going to endure the hassle of an extra flight to Frankfurt and a transit instead of non-stop on BA?

    I can stock up in the lounge beforehand if needed. But I really don’t want to be forced through a change just to upgrade my food. At the end of the day you can’t get restaurant quality food on a plane, JAL aside perhaps and that is mostly cold anyway.

  15. “I can stock up in the lounge beforehand if needed”

    Assuming the lounges will be open by then…

  16. What a joke. Not even a choice of meals? Forcing everyone to go vegetarian? Come on!

    I can get a proper service in a restaurant. Hell, I can even get a proper service on a train. Everything’s exactly the same as it’s always been – same choices, same taste, same presentation. What is so different about an aircraft that it needs these special rules?

  17. @Samo
    “I can get a proper service in a restaurant”

    Not in the UK, you can’t.

    Guess what: not everywhere is the same as Murica.

  18. At least you know what to expect on BA and LU. With Iberia, their overseas BC was never exceptional with their food offerings; now, how much can it further deteriorate? Perhaps not to worry, as I am still waiting my BC refund from US-MAD since March.

  19. So apart from TK, SQ..BA decides to folow this path. A very wring path indeed!. This will only makes pax easier and clearer what they get for their money!
    Honestly, BA is doing its best to piss me off and makes it hard to spend my money with them.

  20. You neglected to mention they won’t be offering any special meals, partner of celiac here. Who either endured the same never changing disgusting economy meal in First class or tried to piece together something edible from parts of the available menu for the last 8 years.

    If a restaurant can serve food, BA can too. Cheap nasty company in everything they do. Enjoying their monopoly position to offer rock bottom service at sky high prices, for direct first class fares.

  21. As one of the few who enjoy BA especially on their A350-1000 biz class flights (December 2019 and Feb 2020), I am disheartened by this menu offering. I was expecting to travel with them again in a few months but may switch to TAP as that is the same food offering I received in economy from Lisbon to Tenerife (on TAP) this past January.

  22. They will never walk service back to pre-covid levels. This is a money-saver and its here to stay. I think covid is a convenient excuse for a decline in service coupled with increased pricing.

  23. “Enjoy your menu”?

    Does anyone bastardise the English language more than the English?

    Oh hang on, I’ve worked it out. The food being served tastes worse than cardboard, so they *are* expecting you to eat the menu.

  24. Another good reason not to book with BA as they gouge customers using COVID-19 to further cut service and costs across all cabins. At least they can justify the cabin crew salary cuts since all they have to do now is throw a box at you!

  25. I wouldn’t fly BA using your money! Horrible carrier and management team! Horrible to their employees and it shows! DO NOT FLY ON BRITISH AIRWAYS!!!!!

  26. This looks dreadful. Currently on hold to cancel my Club World flights – am I balls paying for that!

  27. What I don’t understand is:

    -Why other airlines can provide regular food menus and BA can’t

    -Why First can still get hot food on BA but other classes can’t (ie if it’s safe for first why not others)

    And

    -Why premium economy went from better meals than economy with the ability to pre book on long haul, to having the same meal as economy when before it was more akin to a basic business class menu

    This just seems like a complete cost cutting measure, and given the above I’m disinclined to believe that it has a whole bunch to do with corona virus. You’re going to give out food and then collect trash at the end regardless of if it’s hot, or to a comparable standard to what it was before – so even if it comes in a box and a disposable tray – why is it not a proper meal still.

  28. @creditcrunch I doubt that this has anything to do with the rules because our restaurants have always been able to serve takeaways and the likes of Deliveroo have never been so busy. The rule is social distancing must be maintained. They have provided hot food for first class. I work in extra care for older people and our restaurants have remained open but people take the food to their flats. It’s cost cutting

  29. TAKE YOUR OWN FOOD!

    I just flew transatlantic westbound in premium economy. While the quality of the food was surprisingly good, the portions were TINY. Fortunately I had asked the check-in agent for advice and she told me to get a couple of sandwiches at Boots or WH Smith, the only things open at LHR. Soooo glad I did! Oh, and the wine was the usual splits on request. No change there. Rather strangely, given the justifications for the packed lunches, cabin crew circulated with trays of cups of water and juice several times during the flight.

  30. I have not been home since jan, i am in first class i will however miss what you usually get in first class. But to be honest i just want to se my kids and grandbabys. So thanks god for BA Flying again

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