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!
Gordon Ramsay Plane Food restaurant at London Heathrow Terminal 5 has reopened today, Monday 14 August 2017, after a refurbishment.
The restaurant first opened in March 2008. It was groundbreaking in two respects. First, for raising the bar for airport dining with such a well known chef committing to an airport restaurant where there are limitations on how food can be prepared. It also introduced well publicised dedicated takeaway “picnics” for eating in-flight. Heston Blumenthal followed suit with The Perfectionists Cafe at London Heathrow Terminal 2.
The new restaurant promises a new Asian bar with dishes prepared before guests, a new cocktail bar and a newly refurbished dining area with refreshed menus which can be used for private events.
There is also a new take-on-board Picnic Menu with breakfast, vegetarian, fish and meat options.
The airline could start charging long-distance flyers for a menu drawn from the aisles of Mark & Spencer, Alex Cruz, BA’s boss, has revealed. The move will spark fresh claims that penny-pinching is reducing BA to “a budget airline”.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Cruz said that after “a rough start” customers now welcomed the chance to pay for M&S food on European flights. The airline’s buy-on-board system, which replaced free food on short flights in January, is “a perfect decision”, he said.
“It’s going great. Customers say to us: ‘Finally, I have good choices. No more chicken or beef’.” The service could be extended to long-haul economy. “We might do it,” he said.
Any one who has flown British Airways’ Club World long-haul business class on more than a handful of occasions will be more than familiar with the in-flight service.
It begins with the offer of pre-take off drinks of champagne, orange juice and water. The hot towels, amenity kits and bottles of water are dispatched. There is a bar and main meal service, with one choice of coffee to follow. A widely varying offer of snacks are available in the self-service Club Kitchen. Before landing there is a second meal service, typically Afternoon Tea or a light breakfast, depending on the direction of travel.
Over the years the catering budget has gone up and down, depending on external and internal financial pressures. There have been small initiatives, such as the Heston Blumenthal inspired “Height Cuisine”, changes to the presentation of meals and the ability to pre-order a main course. The Club Kitchen gets periodically gutted and restocked. The quantity of sandwiches and cake for Afternoon Tea has been forever tweaked with. However, the service has fundamentally remained the same.
Regular passengers in British Airways short-haul business class “Club Europe” have not had a great time of late.
After the “densification” (IAG & BA lexicon for adding more seats) of its Airbus short-haul fleet of aircraft the leg room in Club Europe is no different to EuroTraveller economy. More seats on aircraft also means more competition for space for hand baggage in the overhead lockers.
On the ground, BA has closed some business class lounges in Europe in locations such as Dusseldorf. Fast track ground facilities such as access to priority security lanes are not guaranteed for BA passengers at many European airports.
Over the past fifteen years or so, the catering offer has also been steadily reduced. One of the most notable changes was the replacement of hot meals with a cold breakfast plate on mid-morning flights and the introduction of Afternoon Tea. (Although Afternoon Tea has some fans, we think BA has a frankly absurd obsession with serving it on the ground and in the air, not least because nobody in the UK actually eats Afternoon Tea.)
By its own admission, BA has looked at withdrawing Club Europe altogether, at least at London Gatwick. However, the cabin has soldiered on. Indeed, BA is adding Club Europe to its UK domestic routes from 1 April 2017.