New BA 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

  1. Cameron Renwick says:

    I’m flying LGW to FAO (Faro) in the summer, is that classed as a long route or a medium route?

  2. Minor point, but INN wasn’t a hot meal route in the first place, as I discovered earlier in the year – at least on the lunchtime rotation.

  3. Martin says:

    I’m not a fan of wine being served from the bottle,
    Can’t slide some sol casal into the bag for laters..

  4. Jim haynes says:

    I’m astounded anyone pays for Club Europe, even when it’s offered at £50 for an upgrade I wouldn’t bother, complete waste of money.

    • the real harry1 says:

      by its nature, a CE flight is short, maybe 2-3 hrs on average

      you get the same seats

      for under £50 you can buy lounge access or just go to the pub, the rest is baloney unless you really hate having a man in the middle seat I suppose 🙂

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Depends what your Tier Point goals are

        Personally think lots of the national flag carriers need to sort the seating out on European business. Ryanair and Monarch to name 2 have better legroom upfront.

        If you want to keep it flexible just offer the better seats at the front of the economy to status holders as a perk or for sale?

    • Worth it purely for the tier points at that price.

    • If an economy ticket had been £50 more expensive, most likely would have paid that without batting an eye. Just because a cheaper option is available that doesn’t mean that this is the only acceptable option. I would pay that for CE, even only to wait more comfortably on the tarmac when once again we missed our slot and wait who knows how long for another one to become available.

      A seriously overpriced business class product in the oneworld alliance is airberlin’s domestic business class… 50% more expensive than CE for comparable flights and you get your free choice from the BOB menu and a seat in row one.

  5. Eli Gold says:

    where does Geneva fall?

    • Eli Gold says:

      the BA website is very vague and uninformative.

      What’s the deal if you order a special meal i.e. kosher, with they still give you the parallel of the the regular?

      • Peter K says:

        Can’t order special meals sorry haul BA, only long haul.

        • Not so. You can order some special meals on Club Europe.

        • Eli Gold says:

          oh yes you can!

          • You can, because they tried to palm one off on the kids last month claiming it was a kids meal 🙂 In reality the kids meals had almost certainly not been loaded. They gave my daughter the adult meal ‘because she looks so tall I though she’d prefer it’ and my 5-year old got the fruit plate which they claimed was the new kids meal. Which of course it wasn’t, because on the return flight the usual kids meal materialised.

      • I have never been offered a choice of Kosher [KSML] meals on BA. Strangely enough Emirates do though.

  6. It would be great if you could supply a link to the full list of which routes are classified as Short, Medium and Long. Also do you have any information about how special meals are being affected. Often requesting a special meal has been the best way of ensuring something predictable.

    • There is no official list. Flyertalk has a best guess list and a map drawn up from cabin crew info.

  7. Rob, BA may not publish a list but there surely must be one. The Catering service managers must know which meals to load on which flights.We need a worm [no, not in the food]!

  8. Flew LHR to Bergen yesterday and the CSD told me the new arrangements were being brought in from 1April so I was surprised to experience them today.
    Service was drink and packet of nuts followed by a choice of cheese and tomato baguette or prawn and coronation chicken plate. This was beautifully presented but very small. Trays are 3/4 size. New rectangular plates everything else the same apart from the cups. It feels like a down grade of the CE service. Wine was from full bottles on the trolley.

    • Andrew says:

      Flew to Heathrow from Bergen today and echo this. The baguette was a ‘caprese baguette’ which was really a pesto, tomato and cheese panini. The salad was 1 prawn, 2 bits of chicken, some coronation chicken and leaves, with an apple crumble dessert pot. The sandwich is the best choice if you’re not supermodel thin. Big bottles were present for booze. I like the smaller tray, I could keep a magazine on the other half of the row 1 tray table. All in all it was appropriate for a 1.40 departure time.

  9. JamesW says:

    Would be interesting to know what £ value people would place on each of these meal options.
    I’d personally prefer a BoB menu of better quality options than have a meal ‘thrown in’ to the CE price. Is anyone seriously buying a CE seat for the quality of the grub ?? Surely its for more personal space & seating comfort + cabin baggage allowance.
    If I want some decent grub courteousy of BA I’ll use a lounge during my wait at the airport for my short-haul flight. I mean eating on a plane is never going to be a great foodie experience or decent quality on a short flight so why abuse your body & taste buds 😉

  10. JamesW says:

    Given quantity & quality; £5 in a cafe for the very short flights, £10 for short-medium flights & £10-£20 on long flights ?

  11. JamesW says:

    “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.”

    Simply time your departure from the UK to allow a meal in the BA lounge (or at home / resaurant) and your arrival at one of these destinations in time for a much tastier local treat, thus negating the need to eat a substandard meal on board !!
    Do similar on the return.
    Certainly for breakfast I am fairly confident that the vast majority of people eating on the plane in CE are having a second unnecessary breakfast after all !! Getting up a few hrs before the flight I’m sure most will have already eaten breakfast.

    • I used to like being able to leave home a bit later and skip the lounge at EDI and get a cooked breakkie onboard. Lounge at EDI only does cold stuff anyway (unless you go to Aspire or No 1 for bacon roll) and with Fast Track security you could be fairly sure of getting through promptly and thus minimise how early you had to get out of bed! (no T5-esque conformance to worry about!)

    • pun-ter says:

      To be honest, even the food in the T5 galleries lounge is very low quality and the choice is extremely limited IMO, so I wouldn’t use it as an alternative.

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