British Airways Expanding New Club World Catering To More Routes

British Airways is in the process of refreshing their longhaul business class product, which they refer to as Club World. As part of this refresh, British Airways is introducing a new dining experience, better bedding and amenity kits, and a new Club World seat.

I think it goes without saying that the biggest component of this change is the new Club World seat, which will hopefully debut sometime in 2019. Currently British Airways has up to eight seats per row in Club World, which is woefully uncompetitive.

Originally British Airways intended to introduce a new, proprietary business class seat, though rumor now has it that British Airways will simply be introducing a staggered configuration, similar to what you’ll find in Emirates’ A380 business class. We’ll have to wait and see if this is in fact the case.

While you can’t yet enjoy British Airways’ new seat, they have slowly started the process of rolling out their new catering and amenities. Specifically, the new catering debuted between New York JFK and London Heathrow as of September 2017, while the new bedding has been available on the same route since October 2017.

While I can appreciate that British Airways wants to roll out the process slowly so they can optimize it, it sure seems like they’re going at a snail’s pace. There’s some good news on that front. Head for Points notes that British Airways is expanding their new catering to an additional 10 routes as of February 1, 2018. The following destinations to/from London Heathrow will feature the improved catering:

  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Dubai
  • Hong Kong
  • Montreal
  • Newark
  • Philadelphia
  • Toronto
  • Washington Dulles

As of now you should only expect to see the new catering on these routes, and not the new bedding. While I haven’t experienced the new catering firsthand, many have reported that the new service is way too drawn out, so I’m surprised to see that they’re introducing the new catering on so many of their shorter longhaul flights, rather than 10+ hour flights. The only real longhaul destination getting the new catering for now is Hong Kong. Or perhaps that’s intentional, since they assume people on the shorter flights are less likely to partake in the meal service, and that makes it easier for the crew.

It’s great to see British Airways continuing to expand their service, though it would be nice if they rolled this all out a bit more quickly, including the new bedding.

Have you experienced British Airways’ new Club World catering yet? What was your experience like?

Comments

  1. Lucky, I’ve done one London to Boston round trip in mid January in a 777 club world. Both times it did feature the new bedding, white company pillows and amenities. Seems they did roll out already for some of these routes.

  2. While BA’s Club seats may be “woefully uncompetitive” for their layout, they are incredibly competitive for their profit margins. And really, when you’re flying full cabins with revenue passengers, that’s the only metric that counts.

  3. I experienced the new Club World catering and amenities on the JFK – LHR route this month and it was superb. Indeed the whole experience was outstanding and renewed my faith in BA 100%

  4. I just flew back First Class from Heathrow on BA and while the itself experience was fine on an old 747 it was fair enough
    The catering however was utter rubbish.
    Yes the presentation was nice enough the cabin crew delightful
    and the private first class check in a dream
    Nuts were of high quality as was the British butter and bread when it was actually heated.
    All went well until the starters
    But the rubber tough dry as sand chicken golf balls on a mediocre salad without an onion,olive or tomato just leaves me speechless as does the dry chick pea cakes or whatever that overly spiced dry dreadful stuff is .Even their ice cream was awful. Bryers would be 5 star in comparison
    American was superior in business class coming to London and it was nothing to write home about just adequate
    I can’t imagine how BA could up the bar in business class when First sucks so bad
    Cathay Qantas Emirates even a jet Blue Mint transcon can all do much better than BA in Business or first Sad.
    I wouldn’t think of buying revenue tickets or redeeming miles with their outrageous fees to fly business on BA.Even First is just a maybe due to their catering and being a trapped captive for 12 or 13 hours without something decent to dine on

  5. I can’t believe how long it’s taken BA to rollout the new bedding. I can understand, a little, the delays on catering as they “perfect” things, but the bedding should have been done by now. If there is an issue with the supplier that should have been sorted out before announcing the product . Airline executives incompetence is a constant struggle to outdo one another on the simplest of tasks.

  6. Dwondermeat – you make good points about BA First. It will be interesting to see what BA will do with their First Class once the new seat is fitted in Club. The irony is, on the JFK route anyway, the Club catering is superior to the First Class catering! Friends I have ‘in the know’ at BA say that BA First in its current guise will likely die a death soon enough. Nearly all their aircraft have a First Class cabin of 14 seats and apparently that is unprofitable for the airline. I guess given 1) the floor space each First Class seat takes up and 2) the crew:passenger ratio (three looking after 14 customers). I’m told that BA is very happy with the set up on the 787-9 (8 seats with two crew) and apparently the yield works better for them with that. I believe far fewer aircraft will have First Class cabins in the years to come and those that do will have smaller ones. I know that First is often full but that is never a good indicator of profitability. I’m reliably told that the majority of First Class customers are on Avios promotions, upgrades, invols etc.

    Just last week I flew First LHR-JFK (a promotion where I had a free upgrade one way to First when booking a Business return) and two customers in First asked the Purser to get them the starter from Business! And I have to admit that the Business Starter looked far superior to the First Class one.

    The week before I flew Business in both directions and the new service is a HUGE step up from previous. The presentation and quality is superb. The crew have new service routines. There was a choice of four starters, three mains, three desserts and cheese. I will agree however that the service takes too long. On my flight it took around three hours although this was a westbound day flight.

    What I did appreciate on the eastbound (shorter) night flight is that the service is still very speedy and although the catering has improved in that direction also it is delivered much quicker. On the night flights the service is conducted with no carts at all, the lights remain off the entire flight and you can have a three course meal served and cleared in within an hour if you wish.

    The new bedding is excellent also.

  7. Why do we have to put up with the attitude of the crew which varies from flight to flight. Grumpy or obsequious. Make that an option during the booking process.

  8. Rob – to be fair on the whole i’ve had great crews on BA. Yeah, some of them can be a bit ‘off’. But from my experience they are definitely in the minority. I actually prefer the crews that fly for the US/european carriers on the whole to the asian/ME ones. I know people will say i’m mad. But I just find them more genuine. Yeah, some of them are genuinely crap! But the ones that do engage with you really do because they want to. And tbh i’m a sucker for a bit of eccentricity which is usual in abundance on BA and the US carriers. They have crew on new and old contracts and they do not mix so you will either have a plane full of old contract crew or of new contract crew. I’ve had better experiences with the former. I believe they are well paid and enjoy excellent T&C’s which seems to keep them relatively happy. The newer lot are paid around half the old lot and whilst they tend to be younger and have an abundance of enthusiasm they seem to lack experience.

    I have a good friend that flew for Singapore Airlines for many years and left to start her own business training other airlines crews as a matter of fact. She explained to me that the SIA training course is typically a minimum of THREE months with much of that time spent on teaching the cabin crew scripts. Yes, scripts. They need to be able to recite a scripted answer to particular scenarios. So if a passenger says ‘i’m not happy with this meal’ the steward/ess will have a scripted reply. For me personally, I don’t enjoy that forced niceness.

  9. I’m flying them to SFO in April, hope they’re done pushing it out to that route bay then. But not hoping too much.

    The food in economy last year on that same route was atrocious. Travelled WT+ on the way home but I still got some sandwiches from the airport before I boarded just in case.

  10. Agree 100% with John. BA CW is very profitable with excellent load factors. And the pricing is often very good. So why on earth should they halve the number of seats in CW just so it looks slightly more like Qatar? They don’t need to.

    And there would be many angry and frustrated flyers who could no longer get CW seats – how is that good business. Plus more fuel to burn because more flights would be needed

    Besides, many airlines who claim to not be 8-across really are – they just stagger the layout

  11. no love for the SFO – LHR route. Traveling in April, hopefully they have the amenity kit at least…

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