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British Airways brings back hot main meals to long-haul flights

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Effective immediately, British Airways has brought back hot main meals to its long-haul flights.

Substantially later than other carriers – Virgin Atlantic has been offering a virtually full meal service in Upper Class for weeks, and Emirates has even reopened its A380 bars – BA has made a move.

British Airways improves long haul catering

The official BA crew guidance has been published on this Facebook page, Inflight With James.

The text says:

The following service changes will be introduced on 25 October 2020 (ex LHR, LGW & America) and on inbound flight from 26 October 2020 (ex Far East, Asia & Caribbean).

There are no changes in First, Club Europe or Euro Traveller.


  • Primary meal service includes a hot meal which will be served on a meal tray with tablecloth for an interim period.
  • Secondary meal service has been replaced with a chilled snack and will be served on a meal tray with tablecloth.
  • On 77M for return catered flights (only), the secondary service will continue to be loaded in a box, due to space availability.
British Airways Club World meal coronavirus


  • Primary meal service now includes a hot meal which is to be served on a lined half-size meal tray for an interim period.
  • Secondary meal service has been replaced with a chilled snack service to be served in caterer provided box/bag packaging.”
British Airways long haul economy meal coronavirus

You can click on the images above to enlarge.

The good news is that, in most cases, the cardboard boxes have gone from long haul, at least for main meals, and that a hot main course will be available.

The bad news, Part 1, is that the pizza slice / toasted sandwich has gone from the second meal to be replaced by a cold snack.

The bad news, Part 2, is that there is no mention of the standard drinks service being resumed, or even the reintroduction of glassware.

Overall, this is still a relatively tawdry offering compared to other airlines, many of which has resumed their usual level of catering. We need to give new CEO Sean Doyle the benefit of the doubt that this was signed off during the Alex Cruz era.

Comments (47)

  • James says:

    Does London Heathrow to Dubai count as ‘long haul’? What constitutes long haul?

    • Jonathan says:

      Anything where your travel class has World or First in it. If it’s got Europe in then it’s shorthaul.

      Dubai is long haul

    • Anna says:

      I think long haul is classed as anything over 7 hours. Obviously not all airlines have business or first cabins.

    • Rhys says:

      Dubai is about the same distance from London as New York!

  • mvcvz says:

    Simply never understood the obsession with or requirement for hot food on flights.

    • Russ says:

      I can heartily recommend the lamb in QR J 🙂

      • Andrew says:

        And the lobster out of JFK on BA First (pre-Covid).

      • babyg_wc says:

        Didn’t have hot food on my sez to lhr today in club… Had the worst meal on a plane ever (basically inedible), no food for children and basically we only had biscuits, nuts and crisps. The poor staff were so embarrassed serving the food. To make matters worse BA didn’t even pay the lounge fees for club/first to have access to the Seychelles lounge (it was open and they said BA didn’t pay the necessary fees). Apparently we missed the hot food by one day 🙁

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Because some flights are looooong. Even squirrels need a bit more than just nuts (or sandwiches) on London-Perth nonstop and the like.

  • Paul says:

    Does -“for an interim period” – mean ‘until our new boxes arrive’?

  • Damien says:

    What’s a 77M return flight?

    • Rhys says:

      77M is a particular 777 aircraft variant in BA’s fleet. A 4 class 777-200ER with Club Suite.

      • Mark says:

        Which is interesting as it goes to show the extent to which densification in the refitted long haul fleet is having an impact on catering due to reduced galley space. I’m not sure what a “return catered” flight is though – flights where they’re loading meals for the return sector in London?

  • Dominic Barrington says:

    It really is depressingly pathetic compared to the opposition. Without any effort, I’ve racked up Star Alliance Gold alongside my GGL, and I’m seriously considering how I will play my flights next year…

  • signol says:

    Any idea where things stand with special meals? My gluten-allergic wife is returning from JNB next week. Outward she knew to pack her own food as nothing was provided…

  • Sina says:

    Oh great! Now I can have hot cabbage instead of cold! 😂 food on board has been awful for me, before & after corona!

    Basically once they get to me, they’re out of everything but veg options! 🤓

  • FloriGuy says:

    I don’t get it. So Club are getting hot meals but First do not? Does not make any sense at all.