Out with the fine crockery – in with the meal boxes.
British Airways this week launched a brand new ‘enhanced temporary catering proposition’– inflight meals to those not in the aviation business – fit for the coronavirus era. And here we take a look at what passengers in economy, premium economy, business class and first class can expect – and how the new compares to the old in the premium cabins.
Travel expert and writer Michael Trager, meanwhile, has published an intriguing account of a recent business-class Dreamliner flight he took with BA from Los Angeles to Heathrow on his website, TravelZork, and has kindly allowed MailOnline Travel to publish pictures from the trip.
An image showing the new coronavirus British Airways first-class meal boxes
The new British Airways first-class afternoon tea offering
When MailOnline Travel’s Ted Thornhill flew first with BA last year his main course was this – roasted Guinea fowl with broccoli and cauliflower couscous, fig and pomegranate molasses
Pictured left is Ted’s first-class pre-coronavirus amuse-bouche of Cumbrian air-dried ham, Cumberland salami, Berkswell cheese, olives and sun-dried tomato. On the right, his smoked sea trout mousse with Brixham crab and apple puree
Ted’s pre-coronavirus first-class dessert – chocolate chilli fondant with chocolate sauce and pistachio and almond mousse ball
But first, let us turn to BA’s new dining options, which were launched on Tuesday (16th), just after Michael returned.
Most will agree that they are an improvement on the previous coronavirus-era offerings.
Michael was offered a rather austere ‘meal diagram’ leaflet on his flight which outlined an all-class menu of Kit Kat wafers, Oreo cookies, four-cheese pizza, fruit yoghurt, muffin, granola bar and mineral water.
And alcohol was not available.
Now, says BA, ‘customers travelling to a long-haul destination will be offered pre-prepared meal boxes including dishes such as a salad, hot entrée or sandwich, served with a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages’.
And snacks will also be available between meals.
On short-haul flights alcohol is banned – but the food looks tasty.
BA, which codeshares with American Airlines, says: ‘Customers travelling to a short-haul destination in our business-class cabin, Club Europe, will also be offered a pre-prepared meal, such as salad or sandwich with a selection of beverages. Those customers travelling in our economy cabin, Euro Traveller, will be offered a complimentary snack and a bottle of water.’
In addition, each long-haul business-class customer will be given a kit containing anti-bacterial gel and wipes.
As appetising as the new food offerings look, BA customers who turn left will no doubt be looking forward to the day when the carrier wheels out its restaurant-style dining again.
The author of this story flew first on a BA A380 last year to Johannesburg from Heathrow – and it was something else.
There was a welcome glass of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle Champagne and a menu comprising smoked sea trout mousse with Brixham crab and apple puree; roasted Guinea fowl with broccoli and cauliflower couscous, fig and pomegranate molasses, and chocolate chilli fondant with chocolate sauce and pistachio and almond mousse ball.
This image shows the new coronavirus-era BA long-haul business-class meal box
Ted’s pre-Covid A350 BA business-class dinner – burrata, yellow chicken curry and chocolate mousse. Plus bread
On the left is the new BA economy and premium economy meal box. On the right, the short-haul business-class (Club Europe) meal box
Pictured here is the new BA business-class breakfast box. There will be much relief that it includes a chocolate muffin
Travel expert Michael on his recent BA business-class flight from Los Angeles to Heathrow
Before these dishes were served there was an antipasti amuse-bouche of Cumbrian air-dried ham, Cumberland salami, Berkswell cheese, olives and sun-dried tomato.
Every dish was very well executed – fresh, tasty and beautifully presented. And served on proper bone china Wedgwood crockery.
And on an A350 BA business class flight to Madrid, the menu comprised burrata, yellow chicken curry and chocolate mousse.
Michael, an American who lives in London, said that while booze was not served at all on his flight, he was allowed to sip some bourbon he brought on board with him.
But there was no ice available, or glassware.
He said that the cashew nut mix was ‘the best of the bunch’ from the first meal pack he got (but again, note that these meals have now been upgraded) and that the breakfast box was ‘sad’.
But he had only praise for the crew.
He said that they were ‘excellent, very attentive’.
And the lavatories were ‘really clean’.
Michael said that the crew on his flight from LAX were ‘excellent, very attentive’
On the left is Michael’s BA business-class meal diagram. On the right, his BYO bourbon and wipes from Wynn Las Vegas
Michael said: ‘I believe I was the only person in the entire cabin. Perhaps, there was one more. I do not think I will ever experience that again’
Pictured left is the empty cabin on Michael’s flight and on the right his ‘sad’ breakfast
Masks were mandatory and this fact was made clear before the flight via email – but Michael was a little surprised BA didn’t provide any.
Overall, it was a trip he’ll never forget.
He added: ‘I believe I was the only person in the entire cabin. Perhaps, there was one more. I do not think I will ever experience that again.’
To read the full account of Michael’s flight click here, and here for more on his recent stay in coronavirus-ready Las Vegas. Michael broadcasts a podcast called ZorkCast with co-host Steve White from Cranbrook in Kent. They chat about casinos, luxury travel, Las Vegas, and gambling, with a focus on experiences. Click here for the TravelZork YouTube page.