BA Club Europe catering …. it’s coming home!

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Oh yes.  It’s coming home, from mid September:

New British Airways Club Europe catering

According to rumours on Flyertalk, which have been confirmed by a British Airways short-haul crew member I know who has seen the in-house presentation, the new Club Europe catering – rolling out from mid September – sees the return of scones to Afternoon Tea.

In fact, you can pretend that the last 18 months was a Dallas-style dream.

It’s goodbye to getting wine in tiny portions from full-size bottles – the individual bottles are returning (champagne remains in large bottles on longer routes, smaller bottles on shorter routes)

It’s goodbye to the bizarre new zonal system which downgraded the catering on BA’s core European business routes – the old banding system returns

It’s goodbye to being served your meal a course at a time on longer routes

What is NOT going away are the small trays, due to storage issues with the refurbished and new aircraft.   Your wine glass will also be pre-loaded onto the tray.

This means – on longer routes where the main course will no longer be served separately – you will receive a tray with lots of very small plates on it and a wine glass!  That said, BA’s portion generally did not fill the plate space available …..

In all seriousness ….

We are told that the catering budget for Club Europe has been increased.  What is provided should be of higher quality than what went before.

We are also promised more frequent menu rotations.  Apparently the meal choices will be changing every two weeks, instead of every three months or so.

On longer routes where there were historically two hot options, an additional third cold option will be added.  This is being done for logistical reasons (the ovens only take 48 meals at once and a full cabin can be 50+) although it has the benefit of also increasing choice.

As usual with British Airways, the proof of the, erm, panini is in the eating.  However, as all of the cuts to long-haul economy catering have now been reversed, there is some hope here.

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  1. Hot or cold scones ?

  2. dicksbits says:

    The big Q on longer European routes (band 3) is are they keeping the meals or is afternoon tea returning? They were the big winners when the catering changed (eg Faro, Malaga)

    • THIS! If they dish out the same afternoon tea on a LHR to AMS as on a LHR to GIB then band 3 will be huge losers! Won’t bother with CE on flights to Spain then.

  3. what a fuss over nowt. We should be debating the choice of vintage champagnes, caviar etc being served in a premium class, not on whether the scone was warm or the cutlery being used!

    BA lounges = disappointing (unless you want to get drunk), BA premium hard and soft products = disappointing (especially when compared to ME and Asian carriers). Accept the whole thing is going to be underwhelming.


  4. Although I probably wouldn’t pay for CE, it can be a useful way of getting reward flights at short notice.

    I’ve just booked a return for my OH from LIS to LHR for 3 weeks time. He’s coming over with one empty suitcase and will be going back with two full ones and a cabin bag,

    No redemptions availability in economy, but I got CE for £50 plus 25500 Avios. The cost of acquiring the Avios was £56, so £106 total. The cash price would have been €570.

    Flights with Ryanair to STN at similar times with Fast Track, 1 suitcase, and row 1 seating would have been £200. No lounge access, no on board catering.

    • Good buy. We will use CE in RFS only when no Y RFS left. And will always go for an exit seat, as Silver, with the next seat often blocked, nice..but the motto is Y on SH, if available. Fab value at short notice, food secondary after eating in lounge, even if slop, it’s filling.

  5. Peter K says:

    I’ve recently been comparing leg room, catering etc on different airlines short haul and BA is far from the worst, economy or business.
    The extra seat spare in the middle is also very welcome. Having had loud drunk people, a man with no legs on the end of the row (very awkward to get past) etc the ability to have just me and Mrs K on a row is lovely.
    ‘Proper’ business seats would be nice but as it is there are definite benefits to the current arrangement. Whether it is “worth” the extra avios or money is just dependant on how much value you put upon what is provided.
    Is a suite worth more than a standard room for one night? Many might say yes but it is all about what you personally put value on.

    • Did you really just complain about being sat next to someone who is disabled??!!

      • Why is that a problem? I would be very unhappy if I was in window or middle seat, and unable to go to the loo because the person in the aisle was incapable of moving without assistance.

        Ideally, BA should have upgraded this passenger to Row 1, or seated him and his companion with a spare seat.

        Even Ryanair were very helpful when my partner broke his foot before a recent flight. They seated him two rows from the rear exit, gave him a window seat on the LHS so to one would step on his foot, and a spare seat next to him.

        I suppose if the BA flight was full then there was no other option.

      • Peter K says:

        It was an easyjet flight and I was just saying that it was an awkward situation. He could not maneuver himself so we literally had to pass by with our backsides almost on his lap every time we left our seats. Embarrassing for both parties with lots of apologising on both sides.
        Not his fault, not our fault, but an example of why some people with high disposable income will consider the extra for Club Europe money well spent as they will avoid potentially awkward situations.

  6. So you paid £50 plus 25500 Avios? What would you value that at, in total?

    • The value, looking at the current cash price, is more than 1.5p per avios. My avios cost me 0.218p each, so £56 cost for the Avios.

      Looking at prices right now, BA economy would cost £360 without fast track,lounge access, or on board catering.

      Ryanair would cost £372 with fast track and reserved row one seating, but no lounge access or on board catering.

      And with BA CE you get an empty seat next to you.

      So for our requirements, great value for money. And if two people were travelling with an Amex voucher, it would be even better value.

  7. Rob (earlier comment) says 10% of BA pax are willing to pay for CE, but I wonder how many people in CE are only there because they are connecting to a long-haul.

    I’ve flown in CE many times, but 80% of these were on the first and last legs of ex-EU flights. I would have happily paid the same price for the entire ticket even if the short-haul legs were in economy. To put it another way, if the ex-EU ticket was offered with Y connecting flights for £X less than J, and I already had enough TPs, I would choose to save the £X, where X is the price I would pay to acquire the additional avios from flying CE.

    10% of my CE flights were TP runs, but they are always flights I was going to take anyway; and purchased in sales, therefore paying around £20 to £50 more than I would normally want to pay. Last year I paid about £120 more than I would have to fly CE instead of ET, to get Gold. I did earn back a lot of the £120 with the increased avios earning rate, but I wouldn’t pay anything to use F lounges over J. The F wing is nice, but I wouldn’t pay anything to use it either. I don’t like sitting in the 1st row in short-haul, and didn’t fly the 74, so actually from a monetary perspective I made a “loss”. I requalified for Silver this year so the soft landing was also worth nothing.

    The remaining 10% of my CE flights have been, as Nick_C said above, RFS redemptions at short-notice. If an ET redemption was available, I would have taken that, so value of CE is actually £0; the CE redemptions were just the cheapest available flight in the same way that if a CE paid flight happened to be cheaper than ET I would take it too.

    • I don’t know the data and would presume Rob knows more on this than me, but I find it hard to believe people willingly pay more for this product…

      • How much do you earn though? It is all relative. Apparently, looking at our user data, HFP readers are 450% more likely than the average UK web user to earn £75k+. There comes a point where an extra few hundred here and there makes zero difference as long as there is some tangible improvement in the benefits.

        • Genghis says:

          We apparently have a household income in the top 1% in the UK but still don’t feel well off living in London (“HENRYs”)

        • So you are basically saying any premium is worth the premium regardless of whether you are actually getting real value from the product? I accept some people have money to burn but that is hardly an endorsement!

        • You get more extra value from CE vs ET than you get from Tesco Finest vs Basic chicken ….

          A more interesting question is whether you allocate money to a better hotel room or CW / CE, given a choice.

        • I agree with regards to the hotel question as opposed to CE. I think with CW – that is a different story as it is longhaul and has a big difference in experience. Whilst it isn’t the best seat out there given the choice, you do at least get a flat bed to sleep in and the food is improved enough in my view. It’s a totally different product for a different context.

  8. Wow sorry but just more flowery marketing for a sorry product.

  9. BA food is generally pretty awful when compared to other airlines. Pre-plated dinners with no presentation. Yuk. Generally eat in the lounge and get a few cheese and biscuits on the long hauls. 3 little biscuits is never enough so pocket some in the lounge to eat on-board. I wonder when BA will wake up and do something special and forword thinking rather be than being an also-ran.

  10. Just travelled CW to Toronto. I thought the food was excellent. Returned in F and eat in the new Toronto lounge. First dining in the lounge was outstanding. The new lounge looks almost identical to the old but the food and service has defintly stepped up.

  11. Dimitri says:

    While many people complain about the quality of Intra-European Business Class travel, I actually believe there are some very decent products out there. However, BA’s CE is a complete disgrace and not worth any of the extra £ or avios spent.

    I’ve travelled many times from the UK to Greece on business class and you see the massive difference there with both the hard and soft product between BA and other airlines. As opposed to popular belief many airlines do have wider pitch for European Business Class. This, together with the empty middle seat makes the hard product to worth the extra money spent. For example aegean airlines business class pitch is 33′ as opposed to 30′ for economy. This 3′ makes a massive difference for many people.

    On the other hand BA’s business class in Europe is worse than economy class of long-haul Cathay Pacific both in hard and soft product and it’s even more expensive than Swiss or Aegean airlines that fly the same route to Athens from London! What the actual [email protected]! I want to meet and interview one person that has ever paid out of pocket £450 for that route.

    • Frenzie says:

      Athens is on the long band with a great 3 course hot lunch/dinner.

      If you are saying other carriers provide a better intra EU business class product, I am sorru but you are wrong.

      Aegean’s catering quality is slightly better though quantity wise its the same. Their seats are worse (ultra thin with no headrest)

      Other EU carriers catering will be worse or on par with BA.

      • Dimitri says:

        I am sorry but I disagree on the ‘slightly’ better note. Catering and service on Aegean is better plain and simple.

        Regarding the seats, I am not sure if you have ever travelled BA CE? They have the same width with the ones from Aegean with the only difference being the seat pitch which is bigger in Aegean business class. In fact, Aegean has designated business class seats while on BA they are just economy class seats that get adjusted on demand.

      • Phil Duncan says:


        BA is the worst short haul airline in Europe by quite a margin.

        Aegean seats are far more comfortable and the service in a different league completely.

        BA would have a lot of catching up to do but they are a one star airline who are Best Avoided.

  12. OT: When will IHG launch the next Accelerate promo? Doesn’t the Q3 promo normally start around the beginning of September?

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