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Virgin Atlantic makes further improvements to on-board food and drink

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Virgin Atlantic has announced further improvements to its on-board catering, with hot meals and special meals back in all classes.

Virgin Atlantic makes further improvements to on-board food and drink

Virgin Atlantic has also confirmed it would be restarting flights to Delhi, Tel Aviv, Atlanta, Mumbai and Lagos this month. Here are the planned schedules:

Hong Kong – 3 weekly
New York – daily
Los Angeles – daily
Barbados – 1 weekly
Shanghai – 2 weekly
Miami – 3 weekly
Delhi from 1st September – 3 weekly
Tel Aviv from 6th September – 3 weekly
Lagos from 10th September – 4 weekly
Atlanta from 15th September – 3 weekly
Mumbai from 16th September – 4 weekly

Further destinations are likely to be added in late September and October. This article outlines the schedules Virgin appears to be planning but has yet to fully announce.

You can book on the Virgin Atlantic website here.

Virgin Atlantic improves its Covid catering

Virgin has announced further changes to the meal service in all cabin classes.

Virgin Atlantic already offered a decent temporary meal service. Whilst it initially launched services in July without alcohol service, it quickly moved to implement improvements.

The latest iteration sees all passengers receiving a choice of hot meals as well as an improved choice of alcoholic drinks.

Virgin Atlantic coronavirus catering

Economy and Premium meal service

Economy and Premium passengers get a choice of three hot meals with cheese, biscuits and a dessert pot. These come in a ‘Fly safe, eat well’ cardboard box.

A choice of alcohol is also improving with the addition of miniature liquors and mixers in addition to beers and wines.

Virgin Atlantic coronavirus catering

Virgin is reintroducing its second meal service in the form of Eric Lanlard’s Mile High Tea. On night flights you get a breakfast box with yoghurt, fruit and a warm pastry.

‘Wander Wall’ snacks will return for Premium passengers whilst economy passenger get an additional snack in their meal boxes.

Virgin Atlantic coronavirus catering

Upper Class meal service

Upper Class passengers will now receive a choice of three hot meals (in addition to any special meals – see below) on all flights. This includes a ciabatta roll, dessert and cheese plate and crackers.

Meals in Upper Class are delivered on a single tray rather than a box.

Champagne, miniature liquors and mixers will also be joining the alcohol provision which previously only included beers and wines.

The second meal service is being re-introduced with Eric Lanlard’s Mile High Tea returning accompanied by a glass of champagne. On night flights, the second meal service will be a choice of hot breakfasts accompanied by a selection of fresh fruit and pastries.

On board snacks are also returning, with a selection of Corkers crisps, Olly’s Olives, Sweet & Salty cloud corn and more.

Special meals

Virgin is reintroducing special meals on its flights, starting with kosher and lacto-ovo vegetarian meals which are now available. Vegan, halal, low lactose, gluten friendly and other choices will follow from 1st October.

It goes without saying that this is a BIG and necessary improvement for many passengers who aren’t able to eat the ‘default’ meals. British Airways is still not catering for the dietary and religious requirements of many of its passengers.


These changes appear to have left British Airways in the dust when it comes to on-board catering. Crucially, Virgin Atlantic is offering hot meals in all classes and offering special meals.

British Airways, on the other hand, has yet to update its initial Covid catering and is still offering the same boxes filled with mostly cold food. The airline is not offering special meals and only provides a hot meal selection to First class passengers.

That said, BA told us back in June that it intented to look again at its offering during September. Hopefully Virgin Atlantic’s catering improvements will encourage British Airways to step up.

HFP Virgin Atlantic Rewards credit card

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (January 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, one has a bonus of 15,000 Points):

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (34)

  • Paul says:

    Airlines have not provided any sensible or health and safety rationale for these appalling catering offers. Hotels and restaurants Have been delivering pretty normal service and in the case of restaurants, they have been busting at the seams as a result of eat out to help out. The only reason for airlines continuing to provide crushed bags of sandwiches and chocolate‘s sludge, as in the case of British Airways, it’s cost and their Complete disregard for the customer, which was more than Evidenced by the uncontrolled queueing in terminal five on weekend mornings

  • Andrew says:

    Surely BA can’t continue on this cost saving mission dressed up as health and safety for much longer? The catering offering in all classes, particularly in First is a joke. There is no reason why catering can’t return to normal when restaurants on the ground are all operating as normal – surprisingly my *hot* dinner at the Ivy on Monday didn’t come in a box with plastic cups and single serve cheap champagne!

    • marcw says:

      As long as people continue paying…

    • Steve says:

      Do you want to bet on that? BA have the approach to cut costs every single minute of every day. That is, and always has been, Cruz’s mantra. I cannot see how Virgin upping their food game will have any impact on BA as I am sure BA don’t even view Virgin as serious competition in the sky. Looking at VS’s route map, unfortunately BA probably have a point.

      • Harry T says:

        Yep, there’s also the fact that BA will probably be in business in six months, whereas with VS it’s not guaranteed.

      • Lady London says:

        A poster said two days ago BA is an airline to invest in not fly on.

        I know which airlines I expect to see still standing when we get to some stability with Covid and BA is top of the list.

  • Andy says:

    How can VS be offering flights to New York when we’re not allowed in.
    (Well I and my wife are as I’m American)

    • Rhys says:

      Because people are allowed in and I imagine cargo revenue is high!

      • Rob says:

        US citizens are allowed on.

        Remember that you can, as a UK resident, visit the US anyway. You’re not banned. You just can’t have been in the UK/EU for the 14 days before you arrive. Go to Turkey, have a 2 week holiday and you can fly direct to the US with no issues.

        • marcw says:

          Or go to Croacia, or Mexico.

        • Spaghetti Town says:

          The UK and Ireland ban is perhaps a bit silly considering the US has a far larger infection rate than we do.

        • Lady London says:

          I am very, very tempted by this as I have something to sort out in the US that will only take me a quick visit to a non-worrying State.

          Can anyone advise.what would be the visa situation for such a visit, and is immigration not going to let you in for touristic reasons (since I’d rather keep the details private) ?

          • blenz101 says:

            You can travel under the existing ESTA / visa waver programme provided your travel history hasn’t taken you into one of the prohibited countries within the previous 14 days. Fine to travel from here in the Middle East for example.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          That doesn’t help VS though does it?

    • Mawalt says:

      Maybe for people like you? If there is enough demand why not make the most of it?

  • rk says:

    Vote with your feet and wallet!

    • Mawalt says:

      I keep asking this and still have not got a real answer. What is their competitor that has a semi-decent card-based reward programme with the likes of 2-4-1 vouchers and extensive route network?

  • Mawalt says:

    Do&Co apparently are also planning to be making some 2134 (out of 2434) redundancies so clearly BA are not expecting to change their pitiful food offering any time soon!

  • Cavallinorampante says:

    BA’s limited food service is purely a cynical cost play, with yet more evidence of its endemic absence of customer centricity . There is no credible operational or safety reason for failing to provide its standard pre-cooked In-flight catering when restaurants with on-site cooking have found ways to provide normal service.

    • Mawalt says:

      Not only that but other airlines were back to normal for offerings in July!

    • Callum says:

      While I don’t substantially disagree with the assertion, the justification given is pretty absurd.

      How many of those restaurants have people sitting shoulder to shoulder in continuous rows?

  • Nik says:

    I’ve got to say hats off to Virgin. Since stepping back from the brink, they seem to be making a visible effort to up their game, and BA would be wise to take note.
    Not only these catering improvements, but also the significant changes to their reward scheme, which (IMHO) move it from a no-hoper towards being a viable alternative to Avios.
    I think it’s fair to say that most people can only viably focus on 1 airline and 1 hotel loyalty scheme. For me that’s currently Avios & IHG. Whilst I’m not yet ready to ditch Avios in favour of Virgin, I am looking at these changes with interest. If/when I do switch over, it would take a lot for BA to lure me back.
    I haven’t flown with Virgin for several years, but I’ve got to say I never had a bad experience with them. Can’t say the same for BA.

  • Lady London says:

    That Afternoon Tea looks great. BA used to “own” Afternoon Tea. What happened?

    • Rob says:

      Eric is very good. We know each other fairly well now because he and I tend to be invited to the same Virgin events. Eric has paid his money to go on the Virgin Galactic waiting list too.