British Airways (BA) first trialled its food pre-ordering technology to First and Club World (business class) and World Traveller Plus (premium economy) passengers in Summer 2014 (See News – Pre-order Meals Now Available On British Airways). The successful run led to a three wave implementation at the end of 2014 for flights from its hub at Heathrow Airport located in London, United Kingdom (LHR). This service has now been extended for flights from its other London hub at Gatwick Airport (LGW).
Along with all long haul flights from its LHR operations, the service was most recently added on selected mid haul flights from LHR to Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY), Cairo International Airport (CAI), Baku’s Heydar Aliyev International Airport (GDK), Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) and Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport (AMM).
The service is available immediately on all long-haul routes from LGW, with the exception of indirect flights to destinations including Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International Airport (GND),Turks and Caicos’ Providenciales International Airport (PLS), Saint Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport (SKB) and Tobago’s Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson International Airport (TAB).
How to Pre-order
Using the “Manage My Booking” option, customers can pre-order their meal online between 24 hours and 30 days. The pre-order option is in addition to meals designed for different dietary requirements.
Troy Warfield, British Airways’ director of customer, said: “Our pre-order option from Heathrow has proved popular with customers as it means they’re always guaranteed their meal choice, so we’re pleased to be able to expand the service further to long-haul flights from Gatwick.
“We know this kind of service is exactly what our customers want. It only takes a couple of minutes to do via the ‘manage my booking’ tab on ba.com and frees them up on board to concentrate on what they want or need to do, be that working or relaxing.”
Meals will continue update between monthly to quarterly basis based on different class of service:
Are World Traveller (Economy) Class Passengers Left Out?
British Airways did not leave World Traveller (Economy) Class passengers behind. While they will continue to get complimentary meals on board most long haul flights, they gain access to enhanced meal sets (See News – British Airways Adds Enhanced Economy Meals For Purchase) for an additional £15 to £18.
British Airways works with its food supplier, Gate Gourmet, to cater on board food services for flights from its London hubs. The expansion of the pre-order program will add depth in both companies’ food preparation management. Passenger choices could be data-mined to analyze which meals are more popular and which ones need improvements.
The Pre-Order Program reaches the 18 month milestone in June 2016. As new implementation stability issues have been solved, the airline can explore opportunities to further improve the passenger experience and data gathering. This includes:
- Confirming meal choice to passengers through the in flight entertainment screens (with pictures and nutritional values)
- Seeking more timing feedback from passengers on meals chosen
- Recommending meal choices based on passenger feedback
- Expanding pre-ordering option time frames and locations (e.g. New York City area airports (JFK International Airport (JFK) and Newark Airport (EWR)) could be a good candidate given British Airways big presence serving the city).
- Integrating better communication for itinerary that is operated by British Airways but marketed by another airline (in this scenario, passengers may not know that they could pre-order meals online).
The airline could also use the data collected in creating infographics for its suppliers, stakeholders and passengers.