If you’re wondering what a typical BA First Class menu has on it ….

I am in Canada all week, helping my Mum realise an ambition to see Niagara Falls and chaperoning her to a family wedding next weekend.

We flew out to Toronto yesterday afternoon in British Airways First Class.  One thing about weddings is that you tend to know the date well in advance, so I had no trouble using a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher to get the seats as soon as they opened up 11 months ago.

British Airways First Class seat

I’m not going to write about the flight or The Concorde Room because I did a BA First Class review late last year and I don’t like repeating myself so quickly.  However, if you were wondering what the food is like in British Airways First Class, here is the menu we had:

Starters

Sesame seared tuna with a citrus salad and black olive tapenade (had this, it was OK but nothing more)

Wild mushroom and truffle mousse and cauliflower puree with a shimeji mushroom salad

A light cream soup of sweetcorn, red pepper and chives

Fresh seasonal salad with your choice of blue cheese dressing or classic vinaigrette

Main Courses

Seared filled of Aberdeen Angus beef with summer vegetables, fondant potatoes with horseradish and chive sauce

Sustainably sourced North Atlantic baked cod with orange and tarragon butter sauce and chervil creamed potatoes (had this, liked it, found the portion size small)

Spicy Szechuan-style chicken with fried beans and steamed rice

Warm seared tiger prawns on a sesame and fresh shredded vegetable salad with basil and ginger dressing

Bistro Selection

Penne pasta with red pepper, wild mushroom, fine beans and a creamy pesto sauce

British beef burger with Monterey Jack cheese, gherkin, tomato and chunky chips

A selection of biscuits

A selection of cheese and fruit

Desserts

Raspberry delice and cannelloni with kumquat

Warm blueberry and nectarine crumble (had this, liked it, even the custard was decent!)

Madagascan vanilla ice cream

There is a cheese plate and fresh fruit option

There was also an amuse bouche at the start which was not explained to me!  I have absolutely no idea what it was, but it was very small ….

Toronto is not an A380 route so we did not get the option of the tasting menu which I experienced on my Los Angeles flight last year.

Overall, the food was acceptable but not great – especially in terms of portion size.  I rate the business class food I had on Qatar Airways and Etihad over the last year ahead of it, although BA does have a better drink selection.  (For balance, I should say that Mum found it excellent.)

Where it really went wrong was the ‘second meal’ snack.  These are the sandwiches you get – note that you get ALL of them:

Smoked salmon with horseradish and rocket

Ham with Pommery mustard

Hummus with piquillo pepper

Pickled cucumber with cream cheese

This is, I think, possibly the most random selection of sandwiches ever offered.  If Pret A Manger put that lot on the shelves they would be bust within a month!  I turned the sandwich selection down and went for the cake selection:

Chocolate and walnut brownie

Raspberry and orange Battenberg

Key lime cake

…. which was fine, except that each portion was the size of a 10p coin!  Is this a bizarre cost saving scheme or does BA really believe that micro portions are the way forward for First Class food?!

No photos, before anyone asks!

Anyway, it is 2.55am in the UK and I am off to bed!  I will try to drop in some hotel reviews during the week as well as some coverage of Air Canada’s business class product which I will be flying twice.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

£875 Iberia business class return tickets to Rio de Janeiro!
'Miles and points' for the solo traveller - should you have a different collection strategy?
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. I’m broadly in agreement with all Rob has said… but I’m much less fussed about the second, light, meal offering. I’ve crossed the Atlantic really rather a lot in the last six months, and I’m utterly uninterested in the ‘tea’ offering about 90 minutes out. I’m a believer in staying up as late as one can on the first night in, to deal with jet lag, so I’m always game to meet someone on arrival (if I can), and have a meal out. And if I’ve done a lounge breakfast/elevenses, had lunch (at least in some time zone) on board (with amuse bouche – albeit tiny – starter, main, pudding and/or cheese), I so do not need the silly sandwich/cake thing. It’s just more than my system can handle….!

  2. Oh – and Rob – what were your choices? Very helpful to know what’s worth avoiding or looking out for…

  3. Probably best the portions are small as I find airline food is generally very heavily seasoned and high in fat. Combined with changes in cabin pressure the wrong choices can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. To reduce the risks, before and during flights I always tend to favour lighter meals comprising fish and/or rice, and drink lots of water. As such, when flying I’m more concerned about the availability of these lighter meals than whether the airline can deliver a high class di ning experience. Although widely criticised, I like the lighter fare Finnair typically provides. Always found breakfasts on flights to be particularly bad, to date the only decent breakfast I have had was on LH first.

    Will be curious to hear of you AC experience. It is years since I last flew them but they were by far the worst airline I ever flew.

  4. I’d be interested to know if that’s the same quantity I can expect when flying to/from KUL in First at the end of this month. Just so I know if I need to take a tube of Pringles with me or not.

    • Just to advise that for the return flight you can use the F class section of the MAS Golden Lounge, as we are on the subject of food then I’d point out the F lounge has a separate dining room from the main seating area (it’s on the right just after you walk in from the reception desk, usually with some staff at the door). Although the main seating area seems sparse in terms of food and drink the approach is more of a waiter service, and you do really need to ask them what they have. Also no fast track security passes, but you get to use the Priority lanes at immigration going in and out (orange carpets).

      • Good to hear about the F lounge. Looking forward to using it next year if we get to use our 241 to KUL. Agree about being full, after a nice meal in the lounge, mainly want to sleep. Hoping the BA F lounge is SEA is nice, any opinions on that one?

        • At KLIA there are 3 separate MAS lounges, the international one in the Satellite building (which is ok, alcohol is served at the bar at the front) the lounge contains separate business and first sections, the domestic lounge (never tried it), and the Regional Lounge which is in the domestic section of the terminal and in some ways is better than the international lounge. KLIA 2 is the new LCC terminal and is pretty good, has a Plaza Premium lounge which is ok.

          For Phuket, landside there is a Thai Airways restaurant upstairs which looks like it’s a lounge (!), but its not, serves good Thai food and you can get a table next to window with runway view. Airside its very cramped, there are a couple of small lounges but I haven’t tried them.

          In SIN the Qantas lounge is worth the walk, its excellent, the MAS lounge in comparison is really poor – but it does serve satay.

      • I was in the MAS lounge at KLIA main terminal the other day (located at H2 gate). It’s not bad, has a noodle bar and some other buffet style treats. They don’t have a great selection of the devils drink, but it was adequate for a flight in to SIN.

        Be aware when travelling in KLIA (both terminals) the signs or any form of decent directions is “PAP”!! It can seriously take ages to find things! I used Malindo Air business class a few weeks back out of KLIA 2 and used the Plaza Premium lounge; it is before immigration in a shopping mall.

        Daz

        • Thanks, useful snippet on plaza premium as I will be connecting BA to Air Asia for first time and have a 4hr layover. Can I connect KLIA TO KLIA2 without passing immigration? Obviously I would need to if I’m going to use that lounge.

          • James, I don’t think there is a way of transferring without going through the usual immigration channels. Immigration is always pretty quick. The connection is on the KLIA express trains (much better than the previous bus).

            There is some talk on FT about using the MAS lounge as an arrivals lounge (even without a connecting flight).

          • Thanks, that’s what I figured. I think you even have to pay for train so I’ll hold onto some ringit from my first trip. I didn’t know about that Thai restaurant in HKT despite being through there quite a few times. Airside there is a lounge down in bottom right corner that was used by MAS. It was ok but crowded as quite small. Common sense suggests it’s a Thai lounge but something in back of my mind says it’s an independent third party place. IIRC there is also a Bangkok Airways lounge but have never been in it. Generally, lounges in Thai airports are nicely done, solid but not spectacular.

          • Yeah I have always skipped the HKT lounges in preference for the Thai Airways restaurant (landside, above check in desks), its pretty big, food is ok, and they serve it all using Thai Airways china and cutlery!

          • You’ll need to use the KL express train, it costs a few RM. KLIA 2 can be chaotic so business class is good for getting checked in quickly; as I said the usual yellow airport signs are missing with the few directional grey signs really lacking in moral fibre to say the least. I think the Plaza Premium is on floor 2M in KLIA 2 in between floor 2 and 3 of the shopping mall.

            Enjoy Lah!

    • Also, to add to the above, the schedules too and from KUL are very decent. Ex LHR it’s a good time to have dinner, watch a movie and then hopefully sleep for eight hours before what I guess is lunch prearrival. Ex KUL my plan will be to eat predeparture, skip meal service on board and get to sleep as soon as we reach cruising altitude. Hopefully eill not wake up until breakfast just before arrival. Have two KUL trips this autumn on BA but wish it were MAS a380, however, at just over £900 WTP from GLA UUA to CW before devaluation I cannot complain as it meets my target for sub£1k J return to se Asia exUK.

      • James, Agree about the timings,very decent, and we sometimes use KUL as a jump off point, using air Asia also onwards, or OW if we can to an island. Yes it’s still a hike to KLIA2 but really handy to have that cheaper flight option. I always feel I am on a Ryan air flight when I board, but then relax as the service is so good. Highly recommend air Asia around the region.

        You did v well to get such a good UUA. We have never managed to do so before deval. So stuck with using a 241 every time, or now on the hunt for ex EU J sales.

    • Nah, just raid the Club kitchen if you’re after that sort of stuff. Otherwise there’s the bistro menu in F.

  5. Rob, regarding the use of your 2-for-1 as soon as availability is released, what was your strategy? Did you just use it for the one way flight as soon as seats were released on the outbound or did you take a gamble and wait until the return flight was available, at the risk of availability disappearing on the outbound and then book them both?

    • When I booked flights before the devaluation, I had intended to book outbound and expected to book inbound 12 days later, when they became available, to make sure I’d got the seats.
      As I was booking Qatar I had to call( website wasn’t working for Qatar bookings at the time), I was surprised to learn that she could book the outbound seats and when the inbound became available they could add it on, which is what they did, for no extra charge :)
      So you can book as soon as they are available and the person dealing with the booking makes a note about your return.

    • Was only a one way as I am coming straight back after the wedding and Mum is staying with family for a bit.

  6. The problem with airline food reviews is that we all have different tastes, expectations etc. One mans meat is another mans poison.

    For instance I like the sound of all those sandwich fillings, yet the sound of the thought of tuna and olives leaves me feeling quite nauseous. My review of the same food offereings would likely be quite different. The same goes for restaurant critics reviews.

    Hope your mother enjoys seeing the falls.

  7. Morning, enjoyed the article on the BA first menu. We supply BA and other airlines with cheese; Stilton, Shropshire blue and sometimes Beauvale which is a new soft blue cheese I make (BA 1st only). Our cheese is generally supplied through various wholesalers who will also supply the other cheeses to make up the whole offering. It would be useful to know which cheeses are served on the flights and the quality of those cheese. You will find a big difference in quality of cheese from BA to EK for example.
    Many thanks indeed
    Best,
    Robin

    • Our recent flight to Abu Dhabi in F had the following cheeses:

      Simon Weaver Cotswold Organic Blue
      Ogleshield
      Thomas Hole Red Leicester
      Bleu D’Auvergne

      The return flight had

      Brie
      Chedder
      Fourme D’Ambert

      Only ate the cheese outbound, all very good, slept on the way home!

      Hope this helps

    • I’ve just arrived in KUL travelling in Club World. Had the cheese, I wasn’t really paying attention but I enjoyed the soft cheese (could have been riper) I didn’t eat the cheddar type as I’d finished the biscuits.
      Moving away from the cheese, staying overnight in the Sama Sama hotel, which is joined to the airport. All good, large room, easy check in decent outdoor pool and gym. Dinner was fine and we don’t have to get up too early for our 9.45 light tomorrow. Will try a priority pass lounge tomorrow as only got economy flights to Hanoi.

  8. For my sins I get to travel in all classes. When I’m in Economy on BA I want the food in Business. When I’m in Business I want the food in First. The odd occasion I’m in First I want the food on another airline.

  9. I never understand why BA has a good vegetarian selection in all classes, except in First.

  10. I am not BA’s biggest fan but they to get bashed from all directions, especially in comparison to the middle east carriers, . On recent F class flight I found the food to of a good standard and just the right amount, especially if combined with having had a meal in Concorde lounge or other F class lounge. Also the blueberry pancakes for breakfast are great. I also flew F with Cathay Pacific this year, and after having a breakfast in the lounge trying to eat the huge amount of food on the flight just wasn’t possible! Also although CX food looks good on the menu, something seems to go awry by the time it makes it to the table (usually with the main courses), I had one dish which wasn’t cooked all the way through (raw Chinese meatballs in First!), and another dish which was so tough it was almost impossible to eat. For both flights I have lots of photos if needed!

    With Emirates although the food is very good (even in economy) what you order is not necessary what they will serve you once they get all the orders in and then mix them up a bit. There is also the tale of the VS crew on a flight to Nigeria who forgot to take the cling film of the upper class meals before putting them in the oven to heat them up 

    • I actually agree. BA First is, I think, a very comfortable way to fly. Business on and of the ME carriers is fantastic, and BA First is almost as good as that. Obviously the ME carriers have another gear to move to and BA do not, but on an absolute basis flying BA First is pretty damn fun.

      • We really enjoy BA F plus lounges when we use our annual 241…. But when you can get an ex EU on QR J from CPH to HKT sub 1k, it was worth cancelling it and use it next year to KUL before it expires. To travel around Malaysia. This might be our future plan, to do an QR. ex EU J every second year to Asia, but will see how this one goes, to HKT. it’s our first time using ex EU, but we think the QR J product is on par, if not better than BA F. It’s certainly more spacious. And of course, it’s not direct. Also means maintaining our sliver.

        • I’m bored of Avios now – the lack of availability, the CW product and the taxes make it a bit of a mug’s game for too many routes. Great for short-haul economy, and OK if you can get F with a 241, but I spend a lot longer playing with the ITA Matrix than I do the Avios availability map nowadays. The QR flights are, in every respect, better than anything BA could do. Cheaper, more fun, more comfortable, better lounges, better cabins, better IFE, better food, better everything. These discount QR routes are also a far, far better advert for their airline than Avios redemptions in CW are for BA. I do spend a long time looking for great cash business class fares with QR, but I know that unless it was seriously cheap, I would never pay cash for CW, and cash for F is just a silly idea. I would never have contemplated paying to fly in business until I tried QR. So I totally agree with you.

          What I was trying to get across though is just that if you take a look at a BA F cabin and ignore the price, competition etc it is undeniably a fantastic way to travel. There are better products out there at a fraction of the cost, but to pretend that it’s not pretty good fun to have a big comfy seat, a champagne menu and some decent food is pushing it too far really. That’s all.

          • Qatar Airways are brilliant, the lounge in Doha is out of this world with Krug on tap and fillet steak to order. The only problem is: I hate going through the the airport as the immigration/airport staff have about as much humour or normal human traits as the ebola virus. I will not spend money or stay over again in Doha for that reason.

          • Nick, I agree completely with you. We love BA F and it is of course a luxurious way to travel. But actually collecting the avios, if you are not a frequently paid for by someone else biz traveller!, then it’s becoming much more hassle to get those avios for free. It can be quite exhausting, if it wasn’t for card bonus etc we just would not be able to do this hobby. It has become a great habit, hobby, whatever, but, and it’s a BIG but, being able to go ex EU on QR J, takes the absolute need for avios collection away now. Which is what we are slowly gearing towards. BUT only if we are heading Asia direction. If we need the east etc we still need BA flexibility, but availability is slim, which is frustrating. Avios use on Y within the EU is still fab, ESP for me hopping back and forth to Dublin, invaluable. Last minute flights or decisions cost a small fortune to Dublin, so we will continue to collect them when we can.
            Anyone notice huge BA ads in papers last week encouraging people to spend their avios. BA must be worrying about those millions of avios out there waiting to be spent after the Aer Lingus merger. Now, that they don’t want! Newly taken over planes flooded with avios pax!

    • Lady London says:

      VS stewardesses are all blonde, aren’t they?

      :-)

  11. cheekychappie says:

    Worth specifying one of the special meals as they tend to be better quality http://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/food-and-drink/special-meals

    Don’t get caught out by the rule that says you must order min 7 days in advance.

  12. It’s interesting to see the frequent complaints (here, and on FT) about portion size. I have not left a longhaul BA flight hungry in recent memory, whether in CW or F; if anything I usually feel quite full after eating on board.

    I will tend to eat something in the lounge pre-flight (usually some soup and a sandwich, or a salad), so I am not ravenous by the time I board, and I generally find the portions to be right, particularly in F where the food is often a bit richer so you generally need less of it. If it’s an overnight I don’t take the breakfast, other than the smoothie in the small glass.

    But of course we are all different!

  13. Recently on a BA First back from DXB I asked for one of the 4 selections, only to be told that only 4 of each are loaded and that means my choice was no longer available.

    I did enquire if I inadvertently was on a Code Share with Ryanair.

    • I read a trip report of someone in BA F who asked for the blueberry pancakes for breakfast only to be told that they only loaded one portion and that a Gold member (who knew the score) had pre-ordered it the evening before!

    • I Recently was given 4500 avios on board for not getting first choice of main.

      • Say what!! I was given 5,000 avios as a way of an apology from BA from two meals which were uneatable in First Class and I had to fight to get the 5,000 points. I ended up eating jelly beans and popcorn as the gluten free meal was so appalling!

  14. Welcome to Canada.

  15. I am not BA’s biggest fan. However, recently I had nice flight in F on A380 from LHR-HKG.

    The food for dinner was actually quite good. I chose the normal menu instead of the Tasting menu, the portion was reasonable good, and food was nicely cooked and seasoned.
    My brother had the Tasting menu, and he said it was also good.

    The 1st class cabin was full, but the service was nice and friendly. The Inflight service manager was very friendly, so I guess she has set an example to the rest of the team.
    Maybe I have lower my expectation so much, I was actually quite surprised by the overall experience.

  16. You don’t want to be gluten free in First Class from Hong Kong to London with BA, trust me…I ended up eating jelly beans and popcorn and all I got after complaining twice was 5,000 avios for the bad meals which were uneatable. Even the chef and cabin crew were disgusted and felt sorry for me.
    I thought the meal leaving London was bad (it was the same as the gluten free business class meal you get on short haul europe flights but with fancy china) but this was my hell from HK to LHR….

    http://www.aroundtheworldin80pairsofshoes.com/travel/dear-british_airways-you-may-want-to-read-my-rant/

    and this is the BA response…

    http://www.aroundtheworldin80pairsofshoes.com/travel/dear-kelly-michelle-the-response-from-british-airways/

    Not impressed and not flying long haul with BA any time soon unless I pack a blooming gluten free picnic hamper! Strangely enough we flew Malaysia Airlines from HK to KL and the gluten free meal in business was a huge improvement not the gluten free meal that I had on BA in First Class.

    And this is definitely a reason to make sure that your BA profile is not stuck on gluten free…you don’t want one of these meals!

    x
    Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes