As was announced at the annual IAG Capital Markets Day last year, BA is to introduce improvements to catering on all World Traveller economy flights from Wednesday 17 January 2018.
In truth, much of what has been announced is a reinstatement (once again in some cases…) of items that have previously been cut.
The basic structure of the World Traveller meal service remains the same: Drinks from the bar shortly after take-off; a full meal service, and then a second meal and bar service around 90 minutes before landing.
The service in World Traveller Plus is broadly the same with the addition of pre-take off drinks and a main course from the Club World menu.
Additions to World Traveller Catering from 17 January 2018:
– BA will reinstate pretzels with the first bar service.
– The World Traveller meal tray will include a small bottle of water (rather than a cuplet) and the tray will include cheese and biscuits.
– BA will offer ice creams on day flights from London and will reinstate “tuck boxes” of snacks in the galley on overnight flights.
– Graze snack boxes will be offered on longer-range flights in excess of 10 hours (see list below).
– The second meal/snack service will be improved. Last year, there was considerable, and justified, criticism after BA cut the second meal service on flights of less than eight hours to a small chocolate bar / biscuit (see the offending item below from a flight in World Traveller Plus last year). BA will reinstate the provision of a sandwich on relatively short long-haul flights such as New York.
– A second hot meal will be offered on longer range day & night flights.
– BA will continue to tailor menus to regions, particularly Asia and the Middle East, and offer all passengers the option of pre-ordering a special meal.
Whilst the changes are welcome it has to be said these are largely a reinstatement of items that had previously cut.
Not only that some items such as pretzels and tuck boxes have been removed and reinstated and then cut again before, see our article from 2015 as an example. This is for the simple reason that when there is internal pressure on budgets, catering is the easiest expense to cut.
These may seem relatively trivial details in the grand scheme of things, but on a long-haul flight where passengers have little control, these details are important and are remembered.
There has also been speculation as to whether BA may follow many other airlines and launch an “unbundled” long-haul economy fare. These changes suggest, perhaps, that BA has decided there are limits as to how many different products it can offer in one cabin.
You can be confident that post-flight passenger survey scores for World Traveller catering will be monitored very closely. Therefore, if you receive a survey after your flight do make your views known. BA has in the past withdrawn changes due to a lack of positive impact on post-flight survey scores. Levels of wastage will also be monitored closely.
Longer range flights include the following destinations from Heathrow and Gatwick: Bangkok, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Chennai, Hong Kong, Hyderabad, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, Las Vegas, Lima, Los Angeles, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico City, Oakland, Phoenix, Rio de Janeiro, San Jose (California), San Jose (Costa Rica), Santiago, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo (Haneda and Narita).