Following a successful implementation of its pre-order meal service for its First, Club World and World Traveller Plus passengers (refer to our coverage of this new service), British Airways (BA) is expanding this program to World Traveller passengers flying its hub at London Heathrow International Airport (LHR) to selected international cities starting in May 12, 2015.
Under the new program, passengers can order an enhanced meal service online through ba.com/managemybooking between 30 days to 24 hours prior to their travel at a cost from £15 (US$22.5) to £18 (US$27). Ten destinations shown below (with two or less flights daily) were picked in the first wave of implementation. This will ensure British Airways could monitor uptick and manage fulfillments before rolling the program out to busier cities like New York and Chicago. Additionally, food options will change on a regular interval.
Th enhanced meal service will be served in one tray featuring an appetizer, a bigger main course and a separate non-packaged dessert under the following five categories:
- Gourmet Dining
- Taste of Britain
- Great British Breakfast
- Healthy Choice
- Vegetarian Kitchen
Poached king prawns with sliced mushrooms, lightly dressed in a traditional marie-rose sauce
Braised Herefordshire beef cheek with potato mousseline, roasted root vegetables and Madeira shallot jus
Chocolate ganache bar with passion fruit coulis and crushed toasted hazelnuts
Gourmet dining features more luxurious ingredients such as steaks for the main course and chocolate bar for dessert.
Taste of Britain
(£16 – US$24)
Loch Fyne smoked salmon with crème fraiche and caper berries
Slow roasted Wiltshire pork belly with celeriac mash and sautéed broccolini
Summer berry pudding with Cornish clotted cream
The Best of Britain features ingredients from all over the country.
Great British Breakfast
(£15 – US$22.50)
Seasonal fresh fruits
Freshly baked bread including selection of madeleines
Traditional British breakfast featuring Cumberland sausage and mature cheddar omelette
Chunky cherry compote with Greek yoghurt and homemade granola
British breakfasts is hardy and features a large portion of both cold and hot items.
(£15 – US$22.50)
Thai style rice rolls with sesame dipping sauce
Sustainably sourced poached cod en papillote with steamed seasonal vegetables
Greek yoghurt and honey mousse bar with grapefruit carpaccio
Healthy Choice will feature ingredients that have a balance of fat/carb/protein. The combinations will have lower fat in general.
(£15 – US$22.50)
Glazed goats cheese with marinated beetroot salad
Polenta crespelle with mascarpone, wilted spinach, wild mushroom and truffle cream sauce
Lemon meringue pie featuring homemade lemon curd
Vegetarians would be able to join better food offerings outside of the usual fruit platter or pasta.
BA said in a statement: “Each dish has been specially designed to taste great at 30,000ft… with salmon from the Taste of Britain sourced from Loch Fyne and the beef cheek from Gourmet Dining coming from Herefordshire.
“The dishes also combine current food trends and good quality ingredients to offer customers a variety of options. For example, the Vegetarian Kitchen option features polenta crespelle with mascarpone.”
Others With Similar Program
British Airways is one of many world airlines that are featuring an enhanced meal service to increase auxiliary revenue perfected primarily by discount airlines such as Westjet Airlines, Spice Jet and Aer Lingus (Check below for a picture of Aer Lingus’ enhanced meal option).
Besides British Airways, oneworld partner Malaysia Airlines is another full service airline offering a similar program on all international flights called MH Gourmet.
The food itself is an upgrade from the normal meal service in World Traveller class and is approaching the product offered on World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy).
Regulation and The Future
While there are legislations around the world to regulate airlines to provide food and water to passengers when there is a delay onboard a flight, there is no such regulation implemented to provide mandatory meal service while on route. Australian based Jetstar Airlines, for example, does not feed free meals to any economy passengers.
This begs the question – Are full service airlines testing the waters by offering enhanced meals now before eliminating the free meal service? Eliminating free meals will lower plane weight and reduce costs through consuming less fuel but will also be anti-competitive against similar airlines. While meal quality often draws irks from passengers. Their perception of the airline will drop dramatically if meal service is not offered at all.
For full service airlines, the future will likely lies somewhere in the middle where they will implement advance meal ordering systems to gauge demands and will use economy of scale to purchase food (refer to our coverage on how Qantas becomes a pioneer for such a system for economy class passengers). They will also explore other options to get more business from passengers wanting a better meal experience. Look for some other full service airlines but not in high quantity as start up costs may be higher without the demands like BA at LHR.
British Airways is introducing a new option for World Traveller passengers to enjoy a better meal experience through its new meal ordering service.