Best of British – Well it could only get better
BA upgrades soft product in Business Class
British Airways has just announced an upgrade to its Club World (business) ‘soft product’ on long-haul. This includes changes to the catering, amenity pack, bedding, and refreshing their lounge network. Almost anything would be an improvement on what I have experienced.
I’ve only done a handful of long-haul legs on British Airways – in Premium Economy and Business Class. The last was in 2013 after which my partner said:
“I never want to travel on British Airways again.”
The price – just after the partnership between Qantas and British Airways was abandoned – was pretty competitive. So I figured – you get what you pay for. However, it was not really a competitive product.
Nanny Flight Attendants
It was the combination of staff acting like Nannies (but without the Mary Poppins compassion), and the poor onboard product. One flight attendant actually said that my partner couldn’t have another amenity kit because he should have saved his from the last leg. Another one shrieked every time she collapsed the seat divider to ask a question or serve us saying, ‘That gets me every time.” As we pointed out, it was much more annoying to us the poor passengers who were trying to sleep.
I came to deeply dislike the business class seats and layout. On our first leg – no menu’s were loaded, so we had to order off an Excel spread sheet. On the same leg we got served this:
Steak with roasted peppers and gravy. I love an aluminium serving container – gives it that rare metallic taste mmmmm!
I hated the ‘8-across’ business class head-to-toe arrangement, although I quite liked the cocooned feeling of the middle two ‘couple’ seats.
Upgrade to food service
Well as of 1st September as part of their£400 million investment in its Club World (Business) product, British Airways is promising a new ‘Restaurant Style Dining Service’ in their press release of August 29th to be rolled out on flights between Heathrow and JFK. I hope that isn’t related to a ‘wine style drink’. They are also rolling out new amenities and bedding in partnership with The White Company.
The service will be ‘freshly prepared’ (they mean ‘served’) from ‘new display trolleys’, using new table settings.
Here is a summary of their new menu:
- Smoked salmon tartare with wasabi crème fraîche
- Burrata and tomato carpaccio
- Butternut squash soup
- Seasonal salad of grilled vegetables
Main Course (Entrees)
- Beef gnocchi in Café de Paris sauce with asparagus
- Dover sole with lentils, celeriac, and lemon butter
- Artichoke ravioli Parmesan
- DO & CO‘s double chocolate medley
- Lemon tart
- Apple strudel with vanilla sauce
- Cheese board comprising Somerset brie, Keen’s cheddar, and Cropwell Bishop stilton
And the inevitable ‘curated’ (they mean ‘chosen’) with sparkling and white wines in silver wine coolers, and red wines lined up like soldiers on the trolleys. Wines include:
- Bourgogne Chardonnay 2016
- Patriarche Père et Fils (Burgundy)
- Tiki Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Marlborough)
- Las Olas Malbec/Bonarda Reserve 2014 (Famatina Valley Argentina)
- Reata Three County Pinot Noir 2013 (California)
- Champagne Henriot Brut Souverain NV
- Champagne de Castelnau Brut Réserve NV
- Champagne de Castelnau Brut Rosé NV
Colin Talbot, British Airways’ head of catering, said:
“We’ve extensively tested the new menu on numerous flights, refining elements after every trial, so we believe the final product our customers will receive on flights to New York from September will prove incredibly popular.”
New Amenities and Bedding
The new bedding from The White Company (TWC) includes:
- day cushion
- large pillow
- woven blanket with satin trim
- padded mattress cover
- padded mattress cover
The amenity kits include TWC’s:
- ‘Restore & Relax Spa Collection‘ (I presume that doesn’t include the candle range)
These improvements will be rolled out across the long-haul network through 2018. The dates for the introduction to Asia and Australian routes are not currently available.
More . . .
BA is also Heathrow a First Wing check-in area with direct security and lounge access has launched, and lounges around the airline’s network are to be refreshed and improved. The Club Europe cabin has also been introduced on UK domestic services and all customers can look forward to the latest generation Wi-Fi across British Airways’ long-haul and short-haul fleets over the next two years.
Love to hear from any readers who get to experience this in the next few weeks.