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New British Airways Club Europe catering starts Sunday with some hot meals scrapped

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The much heralded improvements to British Airways Club Europe catering begin tomorrow, Sunday.

That said, it certainly isn’t improvements all round – some popular routes are having their hot meals removed.

Let’s look at what is happening.

Club Europe flights are currently grouped into four bands, with a different catering option for each.  These four bands are being regrouped into Very Short, Short, Medium and Long.  These groupings do NOT match the current Band 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 arrangement which is why some routes are losing hot meals.

British Airways Club Europe catering changes

Very Short

Only Leeds Bradford, Manchester and Jersey fall into this band.  You will receive a hot bacon roll, fruit and yoghurt for breakfast (Jersey retains the hot breakfast) and a cold plate for the rest of the day (09.30+ departures).

Short and Medium

‘Short’ covers routes as far as Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Bordeaux and Milan.  ‘Medium’ covers routes as far out as Oslo, Bologna, Zagreb, Porto, Madrid and Bologna.

These routes will receive:

  • Breakfast (to 09.29) – the current hot breakfast
  • Brunch (09.30 – 10.59) – a large hot roll or a cold meat plate
  • Lunch (11.00 – 13.59) – salad or a hot sandwich
  • Afternoon tea (14.00 – 16.59) – cold ‘finger’ sandwiches or a ploughman’s salad (no idea what that is!) with tea cake.  No more scones.
  • Dinner (17.00+) – salad or a hot sandwich

On Medium routes, there will be snacks and a bar round before Lunch and Dinner.

Long

‘Long’ is basically everything including, and beyond, Lisbon, Ibiza, Rome, Budapest, Krakow and Stockholm.

  • Breakfast (departures up to 09.29) – a hot breakfast
  • Rest of the Day – a two course meal with two choices of hot main course.

On the longest of the Long routes, liqueurs will now be offered alongside tea and coffee.

New service standards:

  • Club World crockery to be introduced, although glasses will remain the same as present
  • You now get a mug for your tea or coffee
  • Wine and champagne to be served from full-size bottles on Medium and Long routes
  • Trays are being reduced in size, because meals will be served as separate courses

The feedback I have had from people who have seen the demos of the new crockery is very positive.

Who wins here?

Flyers on Short and Medium routes now receive a choice of meals at all times outside breakfast.

Those flying on Long routes which were originally Band 4, outside of the breakfast period, gain an appetiser.

The real winners are those who are currently on Band 3B flights such as Gibraltar, Helsinki or Lisbon – these flights will become Long and so gain a hot meal.  There will be no more afternoon tea on these services.

Who loses here?

My personal view is that removing the scones from Afternoon Tea is a downgrade, especially as my interest in a Ploughman’s salad or BA’s cold finger sandwiches is very low.  I accept that the scones were not popular with a lot of passengers, however.

The big losers are those flying Club Europe on routes of approximately two hours.  These routes are losing their hot meal service to be replaced with a salad or hot sandwich.

The routes losing the hot meal include (I think) Barcelona, Bologna, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Innsbruck, Mllan, Nice, Oslo, Palma, Pisa, Porto, Prague, Salzburg, Venice, Vienna, Verona and Zagreb.

I am a little thrown by the logic of this, to be honest.  There are high yield business routes on that list which are seeing hot meals cut off, whilst some predominantly lower yield leisure routes are seeing hot meals introduced.

Let’s see how it all plays out.  I don’t have a Club Europe in the diary until May so please post your feedback here if you are flying on Sunday or early next week.


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Comments (100)

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

  • dicksbits says:

    I am flying on the inaugural Murcia route on Tuesday (flight time 2h. Afternoon tea outbound, evening flight back on the 1s. I’ll see what is served up and report back

  • Kevin says:

    Does the removal of the hot meal not contradict what is written on BA.com relating to hit meals on European flights? They make no distinction between the route lengths.

    • Tim says:

      Yes. But BA has no quarms about breaching contracts. They did it with ET when BoB was introduced

      • AH says:

        that reminded me to chase BA up.
        I feel they was in breach of contract under Consumer Rights Directive 2013, as they did not notify me directly about BoB for a flight I booked in July & took in March.
        1000 avios is a pathetic attempt at compensation. Considering it was a return flight (3hr+), it was not even enough for a cup of tea & sandwich each way.

        • Anon says:

          Do it, RealHarry was pursing a MCOL ..

          I got the paltry 1000 Avios per pax for a rtn, granted not a 3hr flight mind..

  • David says:

    I’d rather have proper leg room than new cutlery

  • Luca says:

    Disappointed with Milan. The 1855 departures I regularly take is when I have my dinner. This is a big downgrade but what should I expect from a BA ‘improvement’.

    • Luca says:

      Also add that a hot sandwich is not a meal. It maybe ok at Lunch but not an evening meal.

  • Vinz says:

    The truth is I’m giving up on flying BA in Europe after 7 years of loyal customs. There really is no point at all. Prices have increased over the last couple of years and service swiftly worsened. I’m going to fly low cost from now on, and save my pennies for long haul.

  • James A says:

    Salad or a sarnie on the majority of routes. Wow.

    • Will says:

      Wouldn’t it be ironic if the buy on board options ended up being of higher quality that CE catering!

  • Lee says:

    How about CE to Scotland?

    • Rich. says:

      Same as a short flight I think. Hot breakfast,…. I hope!

      • Alan says:

        Yep, return of what everyone used to get on that route – was nice in the morning to not have to leave time to go to the lounge when you knew you’d get something hot on board 🙂

  • Ian says:

    Sounds very disappointing.

    I flew Heathrow to Warsaw in Club Europe the other day and there was no hot meal on that route already (and no choice either).

    At the end of last year I flew Warsaw to Heathrow and had a choice of 2 hot meals.

    I spent some time in Colombia at the start of the year, and I have to say the contrast between the business class product offered on short-haul flights there by Avianca (even on 30min routes like Bogotá-Medellín), and the dreadful BA Club Europe is staggering.

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