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.
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?