British Airways has been offering pseudo-table service at many of its lounges since covid forced it to roll out QR-code ordering, but this had long been preceded by something it calls ‘pre-flight dining’.
Available at a handful of British Airways lounges worldwide, pre-flight dining offers an upgraded lounge dining concept with table service.
What is British Airways pre-flight dining?
Pre-flight dining is a concept British Airways offers in several of its lounges but predominantly in the United States.
The majority of flights from the US to the UK are overnight red-eye affairs, and with the tailwind of the jet stream virtually all flights are shorter than their outbound counterparts. Even West Coast flights, such as those from San Francisco, have a flight time around 9 hours – on average, 90 minutes less than on the way out. When you consider taxi, takeoff and landing, your time between when the seatbelt signs turn off and when they come back on again is reduced to eight hours or so.
On East Coast flights the effect is even worse, with actual flight time hovering around the six-hour mark.
All that means is that for a lot of people – and particularly for business travellers – getting a good night’s sleep is more important than dining on board.
With that in mind, British Airways offers pre-flight dining. This is a restaurant-style table service at key lounges where you can eat before you step on your flight. You can go straight to sleep as soon as the seatbelt sign is off, and wake up refreshed in London the following morning.
What’s on the menu with British Airways pre-flight dining?
Last time I was in the Washington Dulles First Dining Room I had scallops (see below).
British Airways periodically changes the menu in its dining rooms, and in many cases it will also vary by location. Here is an example menu from the US lounges, provided by BA:
- Heirloom tomato gazpacho (choice to add crabmeat)
- Tuna poke
- Summer vegetable salad – heirloom tomatoes, charred asparagus, cucumber, mozzarella, balsamic vinaigrette with toasted sourdough
- Chicken paillard, Satur Farms rocket, roasted tomatoes, shaved fennel, lemon vinaigrette
- Prawn Masala curry, basmati rice, naan bread and coriander chutney
- Tagliatelle pasta, choice of lamb bolognaise or vegetarian bolognaise
- British Airways burger – angus beef short rib blend, brioche bun, lettuce, tomato, pickle, choice of cheddar, blue cheese, American cheese, bacon, sautéed mushrooms and onions
- Fig almond tart, vanilla gelato
- Lemon posset, shortbread cookie, candied lemon, mint
- Selection of ice cream and sorbets
- Selection of cheese
Where does British Airways offer pre-flight dining?
There are currently seven airports where pre-flight dining is available:
Boston Logan International Airport
Concorde Dining is available for First Class passengers in the British Airways lounge in Terminal E, opposite gate E11. Pre-flight dining is open from 4pm.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport
Concorde Dining is available for First Class passengers in the British Airways lounge in Terminal 5, near gates M11 & M12.
Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport
First Dining is available for First Class passengers in the British Airways lounge in the International Departures Terminal, on the mezzanine level.
Newark Liberty International Airport (New York)
First Dining is available for First Class passengers in the British Airways lounge in Terminal B, near gates B50-B58.
New York JFK International Airport
JFK currently has three dining rooms.
The Concorde Dining Room is for First Class passengers only, whilst First Dining is available for anyone with BA Gold or oneworld Emerald status. Both are in Terminal 7, after security.
There is a third dining room for Club passengers available to anyone flying in Club World.
San Francisco International Airport
First Dining is available for First Class passengers in the British Airways lounge in Concourse A of the International Terminal.
Washington Dulles International Airport
First Dining is available for First Class passengers in the British Airways lounge in Concourse B, after security. Dining is available from 4pm. Our review is here.
Can I use pre-flight dining if I’m a BA Executive Club Gold or Silver member?
Last year, British Airways made some sweeping changes to the access rules for its pre-flight dining facilities.
The change means that all Executive Club Silver and Gold members can use the pre-flight dining facility at North American lounges.
Historically, pre-flight dining required you to hold a ticket for Club World or First. Anyone who was flying in World Traveller or World Traveller Plus, and who was in the lounge on the back of their Executive Club status or because they had been guested in, did not qualify.
This has now changed. Anyone with access to a lounge with pre-flight dining, which includes New York JFK, Boston, Chicago and Washington, will be allowed to eat in the restaurant. Unfortunately, Johannesburg is not included – you still need to be flying in First to qualify.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (September 2022)
As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit card:
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £20. You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.
There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.
The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer. Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.
PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.