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.
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.
British Airways is to introduce pre-ordering of main course meals for passengers travelling in World Traveller Plus premium economy, Club World business class and First Class on select long-haul flights departing from Monday 1 December 2014.
At first, the option to pre-order meals will only be available on long-haul flights to Dallas Fort-Worth, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Rio de Janeiro, Seattle and Vancouver.
Passengers will be able to pre-order meals from Tuesday 18 November via the Manage My Booking tool.
Update: This service has now been extended to flights from London Heathrow to Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Houston, Austin and San Diego for travel after 5 February 2015.
In addition, from 1 February 2015 pre-ordering of meals will be available on flights between London Heathrow and Atlanta, Denver, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary that depart after 1 March 2015. (Source: BA trade website.)
We’ve been prompted to write this in response to a large number of search enquiries for the annual Taste Of London festival which returns to its home in Regents Park from Wednesday 18 June to Sunday 22 June.
For many years, British Airways has been a sponsor of this event and many members of its Executive Club frequent flyer programme have taken enjoyed BA’s hospitality in a dedicated tent for BA frequent flyers.
Unfortunately, it seems that BA’s relationship with the Taste festival has come to an end and BA does not appear to be sponsoring this year’s festival so as things stand at the moment there are no opportunities for discounted tickets or complimentary hospitality for BA frequent flyers at this year’s event.
The issue had largely died down. That was until last Saturday a poster on FlyerTalk had identified that, following an inspection of two of the six lounges at Terminal 5 (The Galleries First lounge and Concorde Room), Hillingdon Council had awarded these lounges a food safety score of 2 out of a possible 5. This means an improvement is required.
To put this into context, almost all of the outlets at Terminal 5 achieved either a score of 4 or 5 with only Gordon Ramsay’s “Plane Food” restaurant and a branch of Caffe Nero achieving a score of 2.