BA will introduce radical changes to the presentation and quality of meals in its Club World business class from Friday 1 September.
The changes will first be introduced on London Heathrow – New York JFK and will be progressively rolled out on its network throughout 2018.
BA will also introduce further changes such as new bedding and amenity kits from The White Company later this year. This is all part of a a £400m investment in Club World BA promised late last year.
So what has changed?
Gone are the are the post take-off packets of nuts and paper sachets of salt and pepper. The airline will introduce entirely new menus, crockery and glassware. The way you choose your food will also change. You will choose your starter and dessert from a cart displayed by the crew in the aisle. The starter will also include a choice of hot soup, which is not presently on the main menu.
You will pre-order your main course as normal. However, the choice of main courses has been reduced from four to three.
For dessert, you will have a choice of desserts from a cart and a cheese board.
If we were to make one criticism, it appears BA have not introduced any further choice of coffee in Club World!
These pictures are taken from a press flight earlier this year. No doubt new official images will be available shortly.
Which routes will receive the new catering next?
As BA uses many caterers at airports around the world, it is big logistical exercise to introduce all of the new equipment. However, it is a safe assumption that routes with high business class demand will be next such as Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Singapore.
Also note that many overnight flights from the East Coast, including New York JFK, will remain “Sleeper Service” flights with limited catering in Club World.
A few points in the interests of expectations management…
Cabin crew have been trained on the new service on the ground and some have undertaken trial flights. However, it will inevitably take time for crew to become familiar with the new equipment and service routes in the air. As such, the in-flight service may be slightly slower to begin with.
BA will monitor passenger feedback very, very, closely – particularly compared to historical data and routes without the new catering. This is a big investment by the airline which, in the current climate of tight cost control, must have required a strong business case. If you receive a post-flight e-mail, as tempting as it may be to delete it, do make your views known!
This is not the first time BA has launched new catering initiatives, albeit not on this scale before. BA has an infuriating habit of adding things to the in-flight service, only to remove them again shortly afterwards when there is internal pressure on budgets. Indeed, over the past ten years there has been a regular cycle of investment and cut backs in Club World. It is inevitable there will be modifications over time, particularly to control wastage, but hopefully these changes will stick.
Update 29 August 2017: Here is the menu released by the BA Press Office (edited to remove the American term entree!)
Loch Fyne smoked salmon tartare with wasabi crème fraîche
Burrata and tomato carpaccio with olive oil and balsamic dressing
Creamy butternut squash soup with chive and sour cream
Fresh seasonal salad, grilled vegetables and a choice of French dressing or olive oil and balsamic dressing
Best of Heritage beef homemade gnocchi in Café de Paris sauce and pan-fried green asparagus
Line-caught grilled Cornish Dover sole with Mediterranean lentils, celeriac mousseline and lemon butter
Homemade artichoke ravioli Parmesan
DO & CO‘s double chocolate medley
Viennese-style apple strudel with vanilla sauce
Cheese board with Somerset brie, Keen’s cheddar, Cropwell Bishop stilton, walnuts, grapes and fig chutney
Update: Here is a behind the scenes video from BA.