British Airways starts to cut the new Club World meal service – before it even gets rolled out

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If you haven’t had the chance to try the new British Airways Club World catering service yet, which is only on the Heathrow to New York JFK route, you’ve probably missed ‘peak’ new food.

According to cabin crew reports on Flyertalk, British Airways has already started to roll out the first series of cuts to the new service.

You are about to lose:

the salt and pepper shakers, which will be replaced by paper sachets (note that Virgin still has Wilbur and Orville in service after 20+ years)

the ‘three in one’ bread roll, which will be retained on JFK but replaced by standard rolls on other routes

the little olive oil bottles, which will only be available on request (assuming you know they exist)

The 2nd small grey pillow is also being removed from the new The White Company bedding.

We are told to expect more changes, because the time taken to serve the meal at present is not sustainable on busy A380 routes and on longer routes where there is a crew shift change.

The good news ….

…. is that the new catering continues to be rolled out, albeit slowly.

January is expected to see:

  • Chicago
  • New York Newark
  • Washington Dulles
  • Boston
  • Philadelphia
  • Baltimore

added.  The new bedding will also appear more widely, including some Middle East routes, but there really is no excuse for the slow roll out here as handing out blankets does not involve major crew retraining ….

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Comments

  1. OT. I currently have the Virgin Atlantic white credit card.

    Just wondering what to do with upcoming Virgin Money credit cards about to hit the market.

    Do you think it would be better to cancel the white card now and see what VM have to offer? Or just keep the white card going?

    Not sure if VM would treat me as a “new” customer or not for offers etc?

    Thanks

    • the real harry1 says:

      it’s a simple decision: just cancel asap (provided you hit your introductory bonus) as the card offers no particular advantages vs others

      this leaves you free to do other stuff

      only downside is: cancelling any credit card negatively impacts your credit rating for a couple of months, ie don’t cancel if you are planning soon to get a big loan/ mortgage

      • Delbert says:

        I don’t recall cancelling a credit card impacting a credit score. Taking up new credit does, though.

        • Age of credit lines is a factor. So if you close a card, instead of keeping it open, it reduces the average age of your credit lines. This can have a negative impact, so it’s good to keep some accounts open long term.

    • You will be a new customer so no pressure to cancel. May be worth keeping old cards due to generous Amex.

  2. OT – Looking for a hotel for me and my girlfriend in London late Feb for our anniversary. Does anyone have any recommendations that will benefit from the Gold status that I have through the AMEX Plat Charge card please? Ideally looking around the £200 mark or less. TIA

    • The Amex statuses are all mid tier without much in the way of guaranteed benefit (free brekky with Hilton Gold is good).

      Use Amex Plat to book a Fine Hotels & Resorts hotel instead. Free brekky, £85 to spend in hotel,guaranteed 4pm check out and upgrade if available at check in. Great package for a 1 night stay.

      • Thanks Rob, just had a look in London for that night and unfortunately a little out of my price range. I was thinking that a Hilton could be a good option because of the breakfast.

        • Conrad London is good, pretty classy and free breakfast as Hilton Gold. The only thing I wish it had was a pool! Depending on day of the week etc rates can be had for the low £200s (I also got a night for £100 once using best rate guarantee) and I think it’s quite nice for an anniversary as it’s a little more upmarket than a Hilton. Having said that, Hilton Bankside is really lovely and I was very well looked after when I told them it was my birthday and the rooms are new and very nice. Miles ahead of most of your other generic Hiltons. Those would be my two suggestions for HH properties in London, don’t know much of the other chains.

        • I can second the recommendation for the Hilton Bankside – if the Conrad is still over budget, you should be able to get this for under £200. Really lovely hotel, and good breakfast.

    • Intentionally Blank says:

      Hilton Bankside, or Doubletree Tower of London. Has one of the best roof bars in London, and a great place if you like Gin!

  3. Salt and pepper cut ages ago for cost
    Pillow stollen far too much
    Bread is only made by DO&CO in London only, and they don’t supply all routes.

    • The salt and pepper has been cut because of issues over the crew refilling them, apparently. Whether crew are complaining or BA thinks it is too much of a strain I don’t know.

      • Duck Ling says:

        Crew have never had to refill salt and pepper shakers. This is done by caterers.

  4. On recent trips in F the attitude of the crew has been noticeable in that they clearly are out to do the minimum possible. Get the dinner service done ASAP then head to crew rest and leave behind one member of crew reading a magazine. No drink top ups, forget requests, bare CW pantry. Underwhelming. In CE one crew took meal and drink orders and then served them individually walking back n forth to the galley, took 40 mins to get served in CE cabin on a GLA to LHR.

    • Quite often the way in CE where passenger load dictates the crew compliment. An Airbus A319 for example operates with 3 crew unless the CE load exceeds 32 when a 4th is triggered. Chances are if CE was lightly loaded then then the third worked BoB behind the curtain while the senior worked CE on their own. And if exceptionally quiet on very short flights, it is not uncommon for the crew to conduct the CE service tray by tray doing drinks at the same as opposed to wheeling the food cart up and down the aisle to then follow up with drinks after. Would make for a disjointed service don’t you think (given the total number of crew available) ?

      • Id suggest that 2 crew in CE could serve a full cabin in a matter of minutes and could then forget about CE with one crew to clear up, which is what happened in the old days before BOB. One crew member trying to serve a full CE cabin doesn’t work, especially when passengers make extra requests which which result in another trip to the galley. By extra requests I mean, by example, not wanting tea or coffee but water etc or a passenger changing their mind /order. The result is a very slow service.

  5. Funny how other airline crew can offer full service on similar length flights. Just another BA farce. ABBA

  6. AV Consultant says:

    The pilot period of new Catering on JFK routes was to prove out operational efficiency and customer demand/use of the new product. The stats drive the decisions which drive the cost savings and efficiency. That second pillow was annoying anyway!

    BA cannot compete with the Gulf based public sector airlines, and for now, it doesn’t need to. When you’re network and code shares are as strong as BA’s, and when you have a cartel over the North Atlantic with AA, and IB, you’re on to a winner. IAG are clever, very clever.

    We’ll need to wait for the likes of easyJet and others to move into the LHR extra capacity…..whenever that happens. Until then, products like easyJet worldwide will evolve (Emirates pulled out as carrying your own bag was part of their desired Customer Experience), and this will challenge the network BA has. easyJet having arguable a stronger network than BA.

    But, remember, the Low Cost Carriers have forced this on BA – economy Short Haul is a commodity now, so why would the legacy carriers incur such high legacy costs for products they don’t need to provide.

    • But why is it a commodity? Why can I choose between the bus and a Mercedes S-Class to get to the airport (which another load of intermediate options) and between a hostel and a 5-star luxury hotel when I land (with another load of intermediate options) but apparently the market only sustains one model of air transport? I don’t buy it.

      Let’s imagine there are 20 flights a day to Warsaw from London, so about 3000 seats. There are, clearly, a lot of people in that 3000 who are purely price driven and will book the cheapest possible fare together with the cheapest possible route to the airport. There is also, logically, a top end of people who are not price sensitive, together with a large group in the middle who would be ok to pay a bit more for a bit better service. It begins to look like market failure to me.

  7. Duck Ling says:

    Just a couple points –

    JFK was selected as the rollout route for two reasons. The most important factor was there is a large Do&Co facility located both at Heathrow and JFK. This was important for what is essentially a test and review phase. Whilst the new product has been operating on the JFK, chefs from Do&Co have been travelling to all the other caterers located throughout the world to liase on the product that these other caterers will load on inbound flights. The second reason is simple – it’s BA’s biggest route by revenue. The rollout will continue to follow these two factors – ORD is the next route as it has a DO&Co kitchen and is a large revenue earner. Followed by the rest of the US routes.

    @ Rob – this is incorrect. The crew do not and never have had to refill the salt and pepper shakers. This was a catering task.

  8. Trouble is all the time BA’s solutions to fixing minor operational problems are those that would be adopted by a Low Cost Carrier yet at the same time they want to play the game of being a prestige flag carrier based at Heathrow and charging exorbitantly high fares that far outstrip those levied by their higher service level Middle and Far Eastern airline rivals.

    Someone should send Alex The Slasher back to Vueling where he quite clearly belongs before he totally destroys what’s left of the BA brand.

    • Demote him to LEVEL, not Vueling – VY don’t want him there either!

      At least LEVEL doesn’t have a brand reputation yet; let Cruz go do his dastardly experiments there.

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