British Airways Restoring Service In First & Business Class

British Airways Restoring Service In First & Business Class

27

British Airways will be restoring most of its standard first and business class service in a few weeks, after significantly cutting it back in the spring of 2020. A few weeks ago these changes were first rumored, but they’ve now been confirmed by British Airways.

Let’s take a look at the current service, and then we’ll talk about what’s changing.

British Airways’ reduced coronavirus service

At the beginning of the pandemic we saw airlines around the world adjust inflight service, in order to reduce contact and minimize the amount of time people aren’t wearing masks.

British Airways made some of the most drastic cuts of any airline. At the start of the pandemic, the airline served wrapped sandwiches and candy bars, even in first class. Then in June, the airline announced it would improve its catering, though that wasn’t exactly much to get excited about:

  • All meals were served in snack boxes
  • There was only cold food, with the exception of international first class
  • There was no more glassware, but rather everything was served in cups

British Airways’ first class catering


British Airways’ business class catering

Then as of October, British Airways brought back hot food in all cabins on long haul flights, though that was still served in snack boxes

Now British Airways will be making a drastic improvement to its inflight service…

British Airways bringing back full service

As reported by Turning Left for Less, British Airways will be restoring much of its service, particularly in first class and business class, for flights as of January 20, 2021. Here’s what’s being brought back:

  • The typical first and business class china, cutlery, and glasses
  • Dine on demand in first class
  • Full meal service in long haul business class (Club World), though on a single tray
  • Hot meal service in regional business class (Club Europe)
  • The signature afternoon tea service and special meals
  • A full tray service for the main meal in long haul premium economy (World Traveller Plus) and economy (World Traveller)

Meanwhile a few things won’t be reintroduced for now:

  • Full bedding in long haul business class (Club World), as there will be no blanket or mattress topper
  • Pre-departure drinks
  • Warm towels

British Airways will be bringing back afternoon tea service

On top of that, it’s expected that the full pre-coronavirus service will be reintroduced as of April 2021, though I imagine that timeline is likely to change.

On balance I’m impressed that British Airways actually plans to reintroduce so much of its regular service. I’m especially impressed that the airline plans to bring back its usual premium drink service, including the reintroduction of its first class champagne, which hasn’t been served in recent months.

Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle will return to first class

Bottom line

British Airways is planning on resuming much of its regular service as of January 20, 2021, and then the airline plans to resume full pre-coronavirus service as of April 2021 (though I imagine the latter timeline is highly likely to change).

Are you surprised to see British Airways resuming so much onboard service as of January 2021?

Conversations (27)
Newest comments are displayed first.

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. PreppyRN

    I suspect VS will also re-introduce full catering (not served vía a box) promptly to across all cabins.

    I wonder what DL’s timeline is reinstating catering on their transcontinental, other long haul domestic flights? It’s time to bring it back including main cabin service.

  2. John

    Great article. Could you make a list with the airlines that are bringing the full service back?

  3. Anthony

    They did this for what - I don't know. The UK just closed London down, invented a new tier 4, the Netherlands completely closed all air traffic from the UK. Really BA?

  4. JOSH

    The only airline from Tel aviv To London with no kosher meal since covid started is BA

  5. J

    I flew AA International First earlier this year and it was full service on one tray which was fine. Full interaction with the crew, and no shortage of drinks. Recently flew international Biz on them, and again full service on one tray. Full drink service and bedding. Crew were excellent on both flights and NOT afraid of Corona. Unlike the KLM staff on my BOM - AMS earlier this year who were in fear.

    Until...

    I flew AA International First earlier this year and it was full service on one tray which was fine. Full interaction with the crew, and no shortage of drinks. Recently flew international Biz on them, and again full service on one tray. Full drink service and bedding. Crew were excellent on both flights and NOT afraid of Corona. Unlike the KLM staff on my BOM - AMS earlier this year who were in fear.

    Until BA get's its act together, AA is a better option. I flew BA shorthaul a few times this year, but expect very little from them so it was just fine. KL shorthaul was superior of course.

  6. DTS

    Just flew TATL Biz on BA last week. The service was disgraceful, I’d rather have gone without a meal at all. On the other hand, I do not want to complain, since Club World was crap to begin with.

  7. Ryan

    The turn left for less article you linked to said LPGS is returning.

  8. Serge

    I took Turkish yesterday from Istanbul to bogota on their new business class. Bedding was excellent. Including a mattress top. Pillow could been better though. Meal service was served on a big tray. Then they pass with the main course on a plate and drop them on the big tray.
    Meal was mediocre. Yes it was a full meal but not up to Turkish standards. I had lamb and literally was no kore than 80 grams of meat.

  9. Mike

    * that's just -NOT- how it works

  10. Mike

    @ ConcordeBoy - that's just how it works. If you're spending £6k, or five figures, on a business class flight you're going to be in the fare buckets that allow for free seat selection in J. It's only the discount business class fare buckets that don't come with free seat selection.

    @Tom - yes, it's an approach that favours status holders, and rightly so in my view. Note also that all bookings in F include...

    @ ConcordeBoy - that's just how it works. If you're spending £6k, or five figures, on a business class flight you're going to be in the fare buckets that allow for free seat selection in J. It's only the discount business class fare buckets that don't come with free seat selection.

    @Tom - yes, it's an approach that favours status holders, and rightly so in my view. Note also that all bookings in F include free seat selection by default. It's just the other 3 cabins where the cheaper fare buckets do not.

  11. Grant Mcpherson

    I flew out Business class AA LHR to Chicago in late October and recently returned via Miami to LHR on BA in club in Dec and was very disappointed in the level of service on the return flight, the Meal in the Box is frankly a cheap substitute. Is a paper cup of coffee any safer than a mug of coffee when being brought to you. Looking at options at flying back to the US later this month and BA is not high on my list.

  12. ConcordeBoy

    @Tom,

    You can "reward you most profitable customers," by means other than nickle and diming less frequent people who just dropped 4-5 figures for a seat.

    More adept airlines simply delay seat selection for non-elites; it still accomplishes the same outcome without leaving the bad taste in others who'd be happy to pay for revenue seats, but could just as easily take a continental or MidEast competitor.

  13. Bethy

    The business class tickets are very expensive and also their is additional charge for seat selection which is also expensive,,,it’s a scheme that BA is charging for seat selection.

  14. Tom

    ConcordeBoy,

    If you have gold or silver status with BA then seat selection is free. Charging others for seat selection is a way of rewarding their most profitable customers as it means they have a better choice of seats when they book.

    Besides, there are no bad seats in F and it is only a small cabin.

  15. Marcel

    I am flying Emirates from JNB to LHR, not because they are cheaper than BA, but BA gave me a $110 refund for the return leg of a $1,400 ticket. And that after 7 weeks....

  16. Ned

    Always think it’s very easy to complain but as someone who travelled in Club Europe every week in 2019 and who has travelled most weeks since July, the offering, although boxed, is fine apart from breakfast. It’s Do&Co, the sandwich was super tasty, the cold salad thing was similar to before and the signature chocolate mousse is the same. Plus plenty of booze. Obvs different if you’re forking out many thousands on club world but...

    Always think it’s very easy to complain but as someone who travelled in Club Europe every week in 2019 and who has travelled most weeks since July, the offering, although boxed, is fine apart from breakfast. It’s Do&Co, the sandwich was super tasty, the cold salad thing was similar to before and the signature chocolate mousse is the same. Plus plenty of booze. Obvs different if you’re forking out many thousands on club world but I think the general approach is to automatically knock BA when actually the service is usually actually very good and the product against airlines who aren’t state subsidised is also very competitive

  17. Crosscourt

    I pretty much give you the benefit but this is a silly paragraph
    ...I just have a hard time imagining British Airways will be bringing back its Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle champagne in first class, for example....
    Why would it be hard to imagine? Its probably the easiest thing to reintroduce.

  18. Constantine

    I recently flew with Turkish and they have restored hot meals, however the rest is still served in a box. Tea and coffee are now offered but wine is still served "prepackaged." No food on flights less than 2 hours stil in effect. This change started in November 2020.

  19. Brad

    My mom landed in Heathrow yesterday and said it was the worst business class meal she’s ever had. Wasn’t edible and she isn’t very picky.

  20. Peter

    Off all service/amenity elements, the LPGS champagne is the easiest to reintroduce.

  21. Ex DOH

    I have been flying BA through this pandemic and this is welcome news although sleep amenities like bedding and pj's in club and first have been offered through out.
    @ Lucky BA negotiate and purchase their champers years in advance so i wouldnt be suprised if the lpgs reappears

  22. Jerry

    I was on a Club Europe flight recently, and while the food offerings were meager, beverage service seemed unchanged. I paid £69 for the upgrade and certainly drank that much champagne en route.

  23. Anonymous

    Turkish also restored meal service on business long haul, according to flyertalk

  24. JAXBA

    @ConcordeBoy; BA have had paid seating for over 8 years now, and it usually rakes the revenue in, especially from those who have more money than sense... the current system works well for me, (I don't have status, nor have I ever paid for seats), yet I still get good seat choices at online check-in...

    Re: restoring F amenities; could BA actually be trying to start competing on service? LH has pulled back on F...

    @ConcordeBoy; BA have had paid seating for over 8 years now, and it usually rakes the revenue in, especially from those who have more money than sense... the current system works well for me, (I don't have status, nor have I ever paid for seats), yet I still get good seat choices at online check-in...

    Re: restoring F amenities; could BA actually be trying to start competing on service? LH has pulled back on F availability; BA may have a chance to increase what little market share there is?

  25. ConcordeBoy

    I'd rather they "restore" more practical aspects, like not being charged for seat selection, after you just dropped $6,000+ on a Club seat... but apparently that's asking too much.

  26. MKLDH

    Do you have more information about why they won't bring back the real full experience? I mean we all know airlines are cost-cutting, but if BA claims to reintroduce the full experience, shouldn't we give it the benefit of doubt first?

Featured Comments Load all 27 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

PreppyRN

I suspect VS will also re-introduce full catering (not served vía a box) promptly to across all cabins. I wonder what DL’s timeline is reinstating catering on their transcontinental, other long haul domestic flights? It’s time to bring it back including main cabin service.

John

Great article. Could you make a list with the airlines that are bringing the full service back?

Anthony

They did this for what - I don't know. The UK just closed London down, invented a new tier 4, the Netherlands completely closed all air traffic from the UK. Really BA?

Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published