BA is to introduce new Club Europe catering across its short-haul network from London Gatwick and Heathrow from next Wednesday, 12 September 2018.
The precursor to this are changes that were introduced last year.
There were definite winners and losers. The winners were longer range flights to destinations such as Helsinki where there was a wider choice of mains, with each course delivered separately. The losers were many shorter range flights where hot meals at lunch and dinner were replaced with a panini or a salad.
There has been criticism from frequent flyers about the repetition of meals and the scope creep of Brunch and Afternoon Tea where no hot meal is offered. These are set by scheduled departure time which does of course not mean the time you actually eat your meal. Many business travellers do not have the luxury of being able to observe normal meal times throughout the day and would simply prefer a guarantee of a hot meal on their flight.
Fundamentally, the structure remains the same with routes grouped into different bands according to the length of flight. On the majority of routes, the catering revolves around five meal times, Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Afternoon Tea, and Dinner.
– At London Heathrow the menus will change every two weeks. At Gatwick, the menus will change once a month.
– All courses will be served together on one single tray.
– On medium length flights, the panini will be replaced with a choice of cold salads
– On longer flights there will be a choice of cold salad in addition to a choice of two hot meals.
– The duration of Brunch and Afternoon Tea has been reduced
– The Afternoon Tea has been improved with scones offered in addition to sandwiches and cake.
The changes are certainly evolutionary and nowhere near as radical as the changes to delivery and presentation in Club World. They are in part driven by the “densification” of the Airbus fleet and the introduction of the Airbus A320neo where galley space is reduced. This is why the trays are smaller.
Unlike Club World, you cannot pre-order your meal which would not only reduce wastage but also manage expectations about what to expect as it’s a fairly complex matrix.
Flights from London City are not affected by these changes as it has always applied different standards.
As with any change to the in-flight service at BA, you can be confident that post flight surveys will be monitored very closely so do make your views known.
You can read BA’s take on the changes at ba.com