Unlike other airlines, BA reconstructed its food offering from scratch. The old recipes and menus went out the window, to be replaced with a smaller, more limited selection.
The change also involved a move to cold dishes (mostly sandwiches) in virtually all classes. First was the only cabin to feature hot main courses.
Instead of being presented on trays, your food would arrive in a box to avoid cross contamination:
BA’s temporary covid catering in First class
Thanks to reader Joe, we now have some photos of what the temporary catering really looks like in First. Joe was on a flight from London to Hong Kong.
Drinks are being served in plastic cups in all classes. British Airways is serving Nicolas Feuillatte Réserve Exclusive Brut NV Champagne, which has previously appeared on the M&S buy-on-board short haul menu:
For dinner, you are given this large box:
…which includes two cold starters/sides, a bottle of water and some bread. Your main (hot) meal comes in a separate box, with an economy-style metal foil covering:
It doesn’t look quite as bland as an economy meal, but it’s not far off!
For dessert you get three little plastic-wrapped cups including DO&CO’s signature chocolate dessert:
British Airways is currently serving afternoon tea as its second meal, at least on this flight. It features a selection of finger sandwiches, macarons, a fruit salad and some clotted cream and jam to go with what I imagine will be a scone:
Is it time to improve catering again?
At the time British Airways re-introduced its Covid-19 catering measures, sit-down restaurants across the UK were still boarded up. BA’s meals were a sensible compromise between comfort and safety: an improvement on the ‘cheese sandwich and a kit kat’ that the airline had been offering in previous months but with fewer contact points than pre-Covid catering.
A lot has changed since then as lockdown restrictions have eased. Crucially, restaurants were permitted to open in early July and whilst measures have been taken to minimise cross-contamination, you’re unlikely to see your waiter or waitress bringing your food in paper boxes or with plastic lids.
It is not entirely BA’s fault. Government guidance to airlines still suggests that they offer “pre-sealed and pre-prepared food and drink,” which British Airways is clearly following.
Whilst BA’s temporary meal service is an improvement, it is now generally lagging behind in comparison with its competitors and the hospitality industry at large. Virgin Atlantic, for example, is offering hot meals in every cabin, whilst Lufthansa is offering its meals in a more normal service on trays with real crockery.
Is there a way that British Airways can safely improve its offering whilst still adhering to government guidelines? I’d say so. Pretty much all in-flight food is pre-prepared and packaged anyway, with cabin crew only required to re-heat and present dishes. I’m not sure that boxing food rather than serving it on re-usable crockery really moves the needle.
It will be increasingly important for British Airways to prove that it is offering a good service, especially in premium cabins, as it encourages people to make future bookings.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2022)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses.
There are special sign-up bonuses on both of the BA American Express cards until 28th February 2022. The bonus on the free card is doubled to 10,000 Avios and the bonus on the Premium Plus card is increased from 25,000 Avios to a huge 40,000 Avios.
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 30,000 Avios.
30,000 Avios is a special offer which runs to 4th February 2022.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 45,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
45,000 Avios is a special offer which runs to 28th February 2022.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)