Hot Food Returns To British Airways Long Haul Flights

Filed Under: British Airways

British Airways is bringing back hot food in all cabins on long haul flights, but don’t get too excited…

British Airways’ current reduced catering

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. In June the airline announced it would improve its catering, though that wasn’t exactly much to get excited about:

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

For example, here’s what British Airways’ current long haul first class catering looks like:

Here’s what British Airways’ long haul business class catering looks like:

Well, British Airways will be making some (minor) improvements to long haul catering as of tomorrow.

British Airways brings back hot food

As noted by Inflight With James, British Airways will be improving its catering as of Sunday, October 25, 2020:

  • There will be changes to catering in long haul business class, premium economy, and economy
  • There will be no changes to catering in long haul first class (which already gets hot food), short haul business class, and short haul economy class

So, what all is changing? In long haul business class (Club World):

  • The primary meal service will include a hot meal that will be served on a meal tray with a tablecloth for an interim period
  • The secondary meal service will be replaced by a chilled snack service and will be served on a meal tray with tablecloth

In long haul premium economy (World Traveller Plus) and economy (World Traveller):

  • The primary meal service will include a hot meal that is to be served on a lined half-size meal tray for an interim period
  • The secondary meal service will be replaced by a chilled snack service to be served in a caterer provided box/bag packaging

Cost cutting, coronavirus precautions, or both?

We’ve learned a lot about the risk of contracting coronavirus on flights in recent months. For the most part it has been good news, as the risk is much lower than many initially thought, thanks to mask requirements and HEPA filters.

For the most part I’ve given airlines the benefit of the doubt when it comes to reduced service:

  • There’s value in minimizing contact between passengers and crew as much as possible
  • There’s value in people having their masks on for as much of the flight as possible

With that in mind:

  • I can appreciate the concept of a scaled back service with fewer courses, the crew passing through the cabin less, and the elimination of serving trolleys
  • At the same time, what’s the justification for eliminating glassware or not serving more elaborate pre-plated meals? Does a pre-packaged hot meal pose more of a risk than a pre-packaged cold meal?

Turkish Airlines used to be one of the best airlines for business class catering, and now the airline is offering one of the most limited services of any airline. I have a hard time making sense of the level of reductions this many months into the current situation.

Bottom line

British Airways will once again serve hot meals in all classes on long haul flights. This is a long overdue change, though the airline still has a long way to go to restoring its service to previous levels.

There are no changes in British Airways first class, where you’re still being served a boxed meal with drinks in plastic cups.

What do you make of British Airways’ catering changes?

Comments
  1. I travel intra-UK with BA quite frequently, usually between Glasgow and London, and somewhat oddly, the pandemic has improved the economy offering. From a very low base (in fact nothing, unless you paid) they now give you a bag with a snack bar, nuts (or similar), and a small carton of water. That said, I don’t think the better snacks and sandwiches are available for economy pax to buy on board any more.

  2. Why would they serve hot food in business but not first? In two weeks I’ll be traveling MLE-LHR in J and LHR-SFO in F. (70k Alaska miles ftw). This will be an interesting experience.

  3. But how do they prevent the coronavirus from coating the plastic containers? Should I wear gloves to remove the lid? Are hazmat bags provided for disposal of contaminated containers? #safetyfirst

  4. @Matt, I am confused about your question, they already serve hot food in First, this is just adding hot food to lower cabins, it is not removing the hot food from First.

  5. The Do&Co boxes aren’t half bad in Economy. Too bad I’m flying back to LAX on the 24th and not the 25th 🙁

  6. ” I have a hard time making sense of the level of reductions this many months into the current situation.”
    ==> Airlines have, like, no money. Catering and choices cost money. Boxes offer fixed price money saving.

  7. @ejc it was Lucky’s closing paragraph that confused me: “ There are no changes in British Airways first class, where you’re still being served a boxed meal with drinks in plastic cups.”

    Is the boxed meal hot or cold? I guess hot?? Does First get a tablecloth like Business?

  8. All airlines have taken the opportunity (always see an opportunity in any crisis) to discontinue cabin service period, and slowly, incrementally, restore it after carefully gauging customer feedback/blowback/outrage, while keeping an eye on the competition.
    Much of what they did is illogical and their customers have seen through it.
    I guess they silently thought “hmm.. didn’t get away with than one”.
    Complain loudly and often (shouldn’t be a problem for the average American! haha.)

  9. COST CUTTING

    Everyone is breathing the SAME air, and if anyone thinks they are less safe with fewer passes through the cabin, they are mistaken.

    This has damaged the human race beyond words. When humans are in fear of each other, the planet breaks down…as you are about to see.

  10. Buffets are also a victim of this situation and it seems like only the Europeans has got a better sense of it. What’s the difference between offering prepackaged snacks and whole fruit or paper cups when everyone is allowed to fiddle with it and the virus transmits as well. Enforcement and education is key not restriction.

  11. Finally, common sense returned. I do understand that they have to limit interaction between crew and passengers, but I never understood why cold food would be safer than hot food. The hot dishes are covered with an aluminium foil, while heating. And if they are tray served afterwards, the interaction is exactly the same as for cold dishes.

  12. Just flew to Seychells in 1st.. Meal was EXACTLY as in the picture (Do&Co are pretty good to be fair… BAs prior offerings looked like human-biohazard waste…(goodbye exec club membership ;-> ). The hot component was described by crew as “an old frozen WTplus meal” and served in aluminium tray…

    CURIOUSLY… the crew meals all come on china plates…. ;->

    Suggest you pack snacks as I needed a crew meal after mine to feel full

  13. Pete… maybe order the adrenaline from a youth QAnon meal on your next flight…. its great with tabasco

  14. Pete… suggest maybe order the adrenaline from a youth QAnon meal on your next flight…. its great with tabasco

  15. Jordan… I was told afternoon tea has gone because scones are a covid nightmare… (cost cutting ?)

  16. I suppose this is a good thing although I would have preferred that they announced this before running their 50% off Avios promotion a few weeks ago. Does anybody know whether other airlines are inching their inflight service back towards pre-pandemic levels? It would seem based off this article that Turkish Airlines at the very least is not. I have an unavoidable trip I have to take in December and am trying to figure out my options.

  17. Weymar… I flew Qatar in Qsuites.. they had a pretty good full inflight inc. hot meal service.. OK not the 15 items choice as before but maybe 5 mains that were all pretty good.. It all just comes with a plastic lid rammed on top

  18. flew LHR-DFW in J earlier this month and the first meal was cold but they served a warm chicken wrap for a second meal. Why not serve a hot first meal?!?

  19. Just flown Lhr to Lax in BA First …shockingly bad food and drinks service . I’ve done this journey with BA in First over 80 times in the past 3 years ( 83 to be exact) .. nope never again I’m out

  20. Saul… but no one has *EVER* flown BA first for the food right?? I have never had an “wow” moment with BA catering… maybe on Concorde but thats different……..and I’m partial to an scone in the afternoon…..

    Have you had “better than average”? Ever

  21. It is BA trying to save money using dodgy scientific views. They are the new Ryanair, but at least with them you know it will be shocking because it costs peanuts. The management shame the brand and the country. Fly LH if you can full service no change.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *