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British Airways to allow pre-ordering of food in Club World and First

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British Airways is on the verge of rolling out a trial of a pre-order food service, Business Traveller reported last week.  This will allow passengers in Club World and First to specify their choice of meal in advance and be guaranteed to receive it.  At present, non-status customers can find that their first choice of meal is not available.

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.

The British Airways version, based on what has leaked out to date, will not be like this.

BA food

My understanding is that it is effectively a cost-cutting move to reduce wasted food.  You will only be able to choose from the standard menu for your flight.  The airline will then be able to reduce the number of meals loaded for other passengers, 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 Club World stop you being upgraded?  At present, it is BA policy not to upgrade passengers with a special meal request.  If BA did allow you to choose a meal which was not on the on-board menu it would almost certainly block you from an upgrade.

To be fair, we do not yet know the full details of this service so it could turn out to offer genuine benefits.  Expect an announcement in the next few weeks.


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Comments (25)

  • Tim says:

    how will this work with WTP. AIUI they currently get a CW meal after the CW customers have chosen.

    • anon says:

      This is not correct, the WTP meals are separate although are the two mains are from the CW menu.

      • Tim says:

        I stand corrected. I always assumed that WTP got their choice only after the CW cabin got theirs.

  • Jordan D says:

    Flew AA twice last week (outbound was original flight, inbound was a flight change less than 24hrs before departure); on the outbound pre-selected my meal in the J cabin; at the gate was upgraded to F, so doesn’t seem to bother them.

    Only thing of interest – the F main courses were (on the whole) exactly the same as the J main courses – just the F was plated in the galley, whereas J was pre-plated.

  • oyster says:

    I’ve travelled some 15 times in BA First as Blue usingt Avios and each and every time have always got first choice starters and mains. In fact we’ve usually had our orders taken before any other passengers.

    I like to think it’s the fact that we are polite and friendly when we board.

    • Rob says:

      Ironically I got screwed over – despite my Gold card – flying to Dubai in F last October!

  • Lady London says:

    I can confirm about not getting upgraded if you order a special meal. Since getting Gold I did several flights no upgrade. Then I unselected my usual seafood meal. Next flight I got the beep.

  • […] British Airways will introduce pre-order meals in business and first class. This is more like what American Airlines has, where you order from what would be on the plane anyway (and thus make sure you get your first choice) rather than what Singapore Airlines and others (like Thai) offer where you can pick from a larger menu and they’ll have your choice onboard for you. […]

  • Fenny says:

    Flying cattle class, the selection is usually “beef or chicken” in some form or other. When I went to Oslo in Business the other month, the choices were something with prawns and something with chicken. As I’m allergic to seafood, I went for the chicken, which was fairly poor. Same choice coming home, but I had to have the chicken again.

    If the choices are something you’re allergic to or anything else, they ought to at least pack more things people are less likely to be allergic to (seafood allergies are not utterly unheard of!).

    • anon says:

      If you have an allergy to a specific food type or types, you should order a special meal to ensure you can eat it.

      Also, this is talking about longhaul where there are a few more options.