British Airways Is Improving Service On Flights To China

Filed Under: British Airways

British Airways seems to be making nothing but cuts lately, in particular on short-haul flights. For example, as of a couple of weeks ago they no longer offer free drinks or snacks on short-haul flights — not even free bottled water. British Airways’ CEO is the former head of Spanish low cost carrier Vueling, and seems to be doing everything he can to run British Airways like a low cost carrier.


So I do think it’s worth giving the airline some credit for improving service, at least in one market. British Airways has just announced that they’ll be improving service on flights to China, including to Hong Kong. Specifically, British Airways will offer:

  • Slippers in business class and premium economy (currently they’re only available in first class)
  • Twining’s green tea will be available as a beverage option in all cabins
  • Passengers will now receive bilingual menu cards and the options of chopsticks or cutlery when dining


Here’s what British Airways’ EVP for China had to say about the improvements:

We understand how important it is for our customers to feel comfortable when flying with us. Following customer feedback we have added a number of extra touches to our flights to and from China. These include slippers, green tea and chopsticks, which we hope will add value and create a more culturally authentic experience for Chinese customers when they choose to fly with us.

Ultimately these are all minor improvements. Delta even offers slippers in economy on select flights to Asia, the branded green tea is certainly nice, though I’m surprised they didn’t already have bilingual menus and chopsticks.

So kudos to British Airways on these improvements, even if they are minor…

(Tip of the hat to Economy Class & Beyond)

  1. Agree with RF… Especially the bilingual menu card, did they really not have it in Chinese when flying to and from China? I feel like that’s a standard on every single airline to have bilingual menu card when serving a foreign market.

  2. Chopsticks = culturally authentic experience for Chinese customers. What a way to operate an airline with the management’s mindset stuck in the 20th century

  3. They still pack 8 people in the row in “Club”. With competition like Cathay on routes from Far Asia, no suprise they are struggling.

  4. Sorry I am not that generous…

    These are basically non-essential and minor improvement and I have absolutely no desire to fly BA on these routes based on these tiny improvement.

  5. Chopsticks. Slippers and twinning green tea (which is awful, it’s probably the crap they sweep up off the factory floor).

    This is BAs attempt at improvements. Well *%#+ me. What a joke.

    This is coming from a brit who is in the process of moving away from them fully.

  6. I’m shocked to read they didn’t provide bilingual meal cards. I struggle to consider that ‘service’ considering the market being served…

  7. OT for this post, but I agree with @Marcin. 8-across seating that requires you to stumble over a sleeping stranger just to reach the loo is not a business class. It may not even be the world’s best economy product.

  8. Green tea, chopsticks and slippers…who would have thought it was so easy! The cliche is such a joke!

  9. This reminds us of our corporate management flight to Zurich a few weeks ago via London City Airport. it was an early morning flight and the breakfast was appalling for a British Airways flight. Dry omelette, dry mushrooms steamed & a sausage that had been warmed up, but was probably cooked a day ago. That along with a bullet proof white bun topped off a terrible flight. We prefer Emirates & Etihad all day long…

  10. @Sunborn Excel, Who really eats on a 90-minute, intra-Europe flight? I’d rather just eat at the airport. For those who really insist on eating in-flight, maybe the airlines should force you to pre-order a meal so nothing goes to waste.

  11. Wow, these are huge improvements. HUGE IMPROVEMENTS! CHOPSTICKS! Cue the band to play “Chopsticks”!

    I loved flying on BA in J in the early days, when they were the only airline with fully-flat business class seats and other airlines had only “neckbreaker” recliner seats. I could actually sleep (assuming I was able to nab a non-aisle seat).

    Today the BA “boarding school dormitory” is awfully cramped, vastly dated, and the provision of threepenny chopsticks on China flights isn’t going to fool anyone.

  12. Wow. #1 I’m glad I’m not a Brit who has little other options than BA,
    And #2 – thanks so much for all these BA reports, ensureing I never make the mistake of flying w them!

  13. We went to HKG with BA in November 16 and it really was the most horrible flight experience I made (and I made it through some very bad United Flights). The experience in Economy Class is really low. I don’t know how chopsticks or green tea really would improve the low standard meal we received and which was so gross that we left it nearly untouched on a 12 hour flight. I know in Economy you can’t expect the highest service but we were so disappointed by the low standards and the crowded rows that we’ll opt for another carrier on our next trip to Asia.

  14. Having just returned on a flight from Hong Kong to London this morning (in J class), a few things to note:

    1. The chopsticks are already there, as are the bilingual menu cards.
    2. The entire A380 was completely full in J class with revenue or award passengers; not a single staff member made it onto the flight, and with 97 seats in J, it seems to me like they’re doing great business. I can not imagine that Cathay Pacific are not wondering how they can make their own premium cabin as profitable as BA’s.
    3. The 777 that leaves 15 minutes later had 4 staff in an otherwise full cabin of 56 J class seats.
    4. I know the numbers above because I have a staff friend working at check in.

    What is really surprising to me is that in Club there is not ONE Asian option in either meal service (dinner and breakfast). No noodles, no congee, nothing. If the airline wants to be culturally sensitive, it’d be be nice to have something other than western food to eat.

    I should also add that the crew was perfect in every way.

  15. Hahahahahaha,

    Is this the worst business class of any major longhaul airline on earth?

    The joke here is that they are not far off CX price from Hong Kong. They should really try not to advertise that they are correcting a humiliatingly poor deficit in basic service. What a joke.

  16. It’s actually quite nice to be able to step into a British environment from the moment you enter the cabin at HKG, even if it means no Western food options. The tranquil feeling on BA is unique for colonial HK people and although CX is arguably nicer, you can’t beat the calm feeling of England only found on BA.

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