British Airways pre-ordering of meals starts today for flights from 1 December

Back in August I reported on the rumours that British Airways was about to start allowing the pre-ordering of food in Club World and First.  This has now become a reality with the service set to launch on December 1st.  World Traveller Plus is also to be included.

This is NOT a version of the Singapore Airlines ‘Book the Cook‘ service. Singapore allows you to pick from a substantial range of meals – there are 20 different main courses available for a First Class passenger departing London, including lobster thermidor – so you know that you will be getting something you want.

BA food

With the new BA scheme, you will only be able to choose from the standard menu for your flight.

Today is the first day that you can pre-order a meal via ba.com.

The initial batch of routes will be:

Las Vegas (Heathrow departures)

Phoenix

Rio de Janeiro

Vancouver

Dallas

Seattle

More routes will be added in 2015.  You can book from 30 days before departure until check-in opens.  If all has gone to plan, if you are flying these routes between 1st December (the launch date) and 18th December (30 days from today) you should find an option to select your main course available via ‘Manage My Booking’ at ba.com.

My initial concerns about this scheme remain.

It is a logical conclusion that British Airways will now be able to reduce the number of spare meals loaded for other passengers who have not selected a meal, reducing the chances that they will be able to have their first choice.

Rather like pre-selecting seating, you are likely to find that you will HAVE to pre-select your meal – whether or not you like picking your food weeks in advance – because the chance of getting what you want onboard has shrunk.

This leads to another question …. would pre-selecting your meal in World Traveller Plus or Club World stop you being upgraded? At present, it is BA policy not to upgrade passengers with a special meal request.  This may or may not end up also applying to passengers with pre-ordered meals.

Let’s see how it goes.  We should get the first pieces of feedback in the next few weeks.

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Comments

  1. Typical of BA to take years to develop a product which others have been doing for years and then introduce it on a very restricted number of services. Sadly , anyone using a BA premium product for sometime yet will still experience their pretty pathetic catering offer and they remain likely to be refused their first choice. this is a very basic, very poor offer albeit a very tiny step forward

  2. Baggageinhall says:

    If you get upgraded then presumably your old seat is filled with someone else who needs feeding. Your preordered meal goes back into the general pool in a way that a special meal can’t. Problem solved for BA.

    In fact, it makes me think that the SQ Book the Cook system is more likely to prevent you from being upgraded.

    • Sadly SQ upgrades virtually never happen

      • not sadly….especially if you pay for First. On SQ you get a genuinely First product which is exclusive, superbly comfortable and staffed by knowledgeable and dedicated crew. its exclusive and you get what you pay for.

        Compare that to club world plus filled with staff (entitled and not) upgrades and those of us who hoard aviosi!!! It is a poor product when compared to any genuine First product offered by the likes of CX SQ QF AF LH EK etc etc

        Its ok but I would (and do) choose CX & AA business over BA First whenever possible and these products are a match for it any day and at fraction of the price. I only use First when on Amex 241 and when sites like this give me the heads up on availability.

        • I agree with you. The singapore premium cabins are superb. I only say ‘sadly’ because 1/3 of my flights are in SIN J and would be over the moon to be given an upgrade when flying Y. I can see how someone in the next row on a cash ticket would be less than impressed

  3. More penny pinching – dressed up as an improvement.

    • If they have to cut costs this does seem a sensible way to do it. It is presumably an attempt to reduce waste, which has to be a good thing. The modest reduction in choice is not a big price to pay.

  4. Is the menu the same in WTP and CW? If so your meal choice would go with you as you upgraded. Obviously more of a problem going into First, although I’m sure that you could demand a CW meal from your First seat and someone in CW would merrily accept a First meal if as a consequence they were really short in CW.

    • The menu in WTP and CW is not the same hence why you pay much more for CW! Having said that some airlines like NH allow you to order some snack items from the C menu albeit you do get charged onboard

      • Baggageinhall says:

        From the BA website:

        For your main course for lunch or dinner we’ll also offer you a choice of two of the meals featured on the business class menu. Our team of chefs work with suppliers around the world to ensure that only the finest ingredients are used.

        • I think the main course is the same so theoretically you could be upgraded without too much hassle

      • There is a choice in WT+ and the two options are CW entrees / mains.

  5. Scottnothing says:

    Off this topic, but on this one (http://www.headforpoints.com/2014/06/20/british-airways-old-first-class-routes/), I am travelling Club World to Cape Town in December and seat availability in the Old First cabin has just opened up (I am BA Silver). I’m tossing up between the First cabin (which I understand probably means “ropey” seats and the old in-flight entertainment system) and upper deck Club World on the 747-400 (where I have 63K reserved). I have trawled Flyertalk for some perspective but would be interested in HFP reader thoughts on Old First vs upper deck CW if people have strong views.

    • The old first seat is better for sleeping, if that’s what you’ll mainly be doing. Not sure if they still hand out ipads on these seats to compensate for the poor ife

    • You need raffles to chirp in here, he’s flown old F recently and is a sensible chap.

    • Are you alone? If so, having a seat to yourself by the window in F is fantastic.
      Do you like lots of personal space? Take F
      Do you want to be staring at someone else in the face for 13 hours who you don’t know? Take J

      The IFE is the only reason to consider J. If you are on an overnight Cape Town flight then you will be mainly sleeping anyway so the better bed in F is what you want.

      I have to say that I would take F every time in your situation but then I am not a big watcher of in-flight entertainment.

    • Scottnothing says:

      Thanks for your thoughts/feedback – much appreciated. I’ve moved us to 2A & 2K. Fingers crossed they sell enough CW seats and we aren’t moved back into the main cabin! Cheers

  6. I wonder how long it will be before they charge £50 to preselect our meals in CW! Perhaps we will get a generous discount if we pick the seat and the meal at same time. Last night I priced a ow BKK-LRR CW on BA; it was more than double the price on MAS and over four times higher than Finnair. The time to end BAs monopoly at LHR is long past, don’t know why we should have to suffer outdatwd products and services at overinflated prices.

    • Who did you book?

      • None so far, waiting for my return date to open up. If I can get AY return for under £1400 I will take it. If not then I will pay £1000 for WTP if I can upgrade it to CW. Sri Lanka usually have good deals too; I like the service and food, seat is full flat and fine too.

    • agree with you 100%. Fortress Heathrow is being used by BA to keep fares high and deliver products that are long past their sell by date. Only the building of a new airport with capacity for many many more options and true open skies will see BA do anything about the product they offer.

  7. Is this meant to be both ways round on the routes in question? I’m flying back from Seattle on 5 Dec, but the option is greyed out in MMB….

  8. The lengthy routes used for the trial suggest to me that they expect some teething issues! A sensible option though.

    It will be interesting to see how many people take it up, on a recent AA flight, the cabin crew seemed to ask most what they would like. Although saying that they did the same for me until I reminded them I’d pre-ordered.

    In regards to the issue re upgrades, you wouldn’t have thought it would make a difference as the person upgraded to upgrade you will have the same choice as they ever did (if perhaps more weighted now)

  9. Bojangles says:

    I think its only outbound from London Heathrow initially