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British Airways to charge £15-£18 for ‘enhanced’ World Traveller meals

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Two weeks ago, a Head for Points reader sent me an odd market research survey he had received.  It wanted volunteers who were planning to fly certain BA long-haul routes this Summer because “BA is trialling a new service on a select number of routes … if you are flying on one of these routes, we (sic) may have the opportunity to take part in a special task with a cash incentive as a thank you.”

At the time I didn’t know what it was about.  Now I do.

From May 12th, British Airways is launching ‘paid for’ food in World Traveller on selected routes.  The standard meal will still be available if you want it.  However, you have the opportunity to pay up to £18 for an upgraded meal to replace your existing one.  These must be pre-ordered online.

The first wave will cover just Atlanta, Austin, Denver, Dallas-Fort Worth, Baltimore / Washington, Mexico City, Seattle and Phoenix.  My understanding is that the second wave is likely to include New York, Newark, Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Houston, Johannesburg, Miami, Montreal, Newark and Philadelphia.  In any event, they will only be offered on outbound flights initially.

It is not clear what quality of meal will be delivered for £15-£18.  If we look (again) at the last Club World main course I ate:

British Airways Club World main course

…. I doubt you would be able to convince many people that it was worth £15-£18 – although the fee covers three courses.

I’m not sure what you get these days on a long flight like Johannesburg in World Traveller but the difference between the existing meal and what I picture above cannot be huge.  After all, the BA website says that World Traveller serves “a delicious assortment of fine foods designed by world renowned chefs to keep your taste buds entertained throughout the flight”.

There will be five meals to choose from:

Gourmet Dining (prawn starter, beef main, chocolate ganache bar)

Taste of Britain (smoked salmon, pork belly, Summer berry pudding)

Great British Breakfast (bread , full English breakfast, cherry compote)

Healthy Choice (rice rolls, cod, Greek yoghurt / honey mouse / grapefruit carpaccio)

Vegetarian (goats cheese salad, polenta, lemon meringue)

This is not necessarily a bad idea.  Anything that offers passengers more choice is clearly OK.  My initial concern – apart from customers rejecting their £18 meal because it looks like the one above – is that they are poor value for money, especially as BA is saving themselves the cost of your standard meal.

The food will not be of Club World standard because it will be served on one tray and handed over in one go, rather than plated course by course.  The courses must also fit on the tray so you are presumably not going to get much more food than usual by volume.  I await the first photographs …..

If you are travelling on any of the routes listed above from May 12th, you will be able to pay for your enhanced meal online from April 23rd.

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Comments (71)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Stu R says:

    BA’s headlong dive down the slippery slope continues ….

    However, I guess before being too dismissive, we must keep in mind that these days you pay upwards of £8 for a sandwich and a coffee in basic airport eateries.

    Either way, I won’t be parting with £18 of my hard earned any time soon.

  • Tim Millea says:

    It appears to be a taxation on foolishness. Let’s have more of it.

  • Worzel says:

    Do we have to continue looking at that “North Atlantic cod with a saffron and sultana sauce, vegetable tagine and couscous” ? 🙂 .

    • jonboy says:

      oh, so that’s what that is….lol

      • Worzel says:

        So Rob was led to believe.

        Looks like slowly braised Swede and Carrot in a Bisto jus, accompanied by caulliflower cheese with a light breadcrumb crust and pine kernels-the crust has been plated wrongly and should be cuddling the Cauli!

    • joe says:

      I like that it was used as the thumbnail picture for a recent BA article, rather than a picture of a BA ‘plane or whatever

    • Fred says:

      Reminds me of the Tampa/ Lon run on BA, Bangers & Packaged Mashed Potato, for five years running , this in World Traveler Plus Cabin , exactly what the Economy Cabin was served for Double the Fare !

  • ee says:

    Is there any news on the expansion of pre-order meals in CW? We have a LCY to JFK segment in August and was hoping this may have been rolled out by then. Seems no new routes have been added since March?

  • Fee E says:

    My last three long BA flights have been club, 1st, club. Nothing worth £18 was served on any of them. Supermarket ready meals are better. Even the much lauded A380 tasting menu was just OK. Will they give refunds if food is particularly poor? I’ve left a lot of food that was inedible and that would annoy me if I’d paid extra for it. (Chocolate dessert too hard to get a spoon in, tomato/mozzarella dish with unripe tomatoes, curry dish with only two small cubes of meat.) I eat before the flight and carry snacks in hand luggage.
    Don’t they think that their flight crews have to deal with enough complaints already?

    • dac says:

      Exactly the same experience, what is it with that chocolate dessert (when they don’t run out) that cremates it on the outside and keeps it frozen like a brick on the inside.

      I’ve started taking sandwiches, even BA cant get that right in first

    • CV3V says:

      When on a budget flight i like to get a Boots meal deal – should i start doing this in BA CW too?!

      • JQ says:

        Yes. They probably last for at least 24 hours (I dislike mayo) and so if the CW food is edible, you can always have the meal deal later.

    • Mike says:

      I’ve found the F (dinner) food pretty decent, the tasting menu has been comparable with what I’d pay £30 for in a restaurant. That said, my expectations have gone down a lot in recent years. Back when flying F (or J even) was a dream, I used to think something top-restaurant quality would have been served. I mostly feel sorry for the honeymooners who pay thousands to ‘experience’ the reality.

      My major complaints are the wine selection (it’s generally poor and there’s no excuse for it, other than BA seemingly having a budget of £10 a bottle) and the breakfast. My cooked breakfast was worse than what I could put together in a microwave after a £5 shop in Tesco.

      • Rob says:

        I actually priced up the Etihad business class wine list and it was all £10 per bottle in Tesco! First Class came out nearer £20. Not sure why Etihad spends so much on food and has dubious wine going with it.

  • James67 says:

    I certainly eould not pay £15 to upgrade a WT meal to a CW meal. This is just a prelude to cutting costs on regular meals. I think most airlines are at it. A friend who works for CX told me they have massively redyced foid expenditure exHKG including on premium cabins.

  • Rich L says:

    Just flew LHR to BKK in Club via Avios and Amex two for one, but usually travel economy.

    The Club meal was okay actually – hardly restaurant quality, but a revelation compared to the gruel served in World Traveller. I guess it is all about relatives.

    • joe says:

      I guess the question is whether BA economy stodge should be the comparitor, or the food served in business class on other airlines. As with most things, it seems BA is miles behind the competition.

  • linda says:

    On our return trip in Club a few weeks ago from Vegas, the meal was inedible everything was sent back. No other choices were available so me and my OH went hungry it was very poor. We always eat before we fly now, even BurgerKing was better.

    • JQ says:

      That’s what the lounge is for…. or was until the hot food was enhanced

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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