a bottle of wine and a glass on a table

British Airways has made sweeping changes to it’s business class offerings this year, introducing industry standard bedding and other soft touches. It’s great, but what about everyone else? More customers fly economy than any other cabin, yet all news seemed focused on the pointy end. No longer. British Airways has announced exciting changes to their economy meal service.

a bottle of liquor and a bag of pretzels on a trayThe Changes

Starting January 17th, British Airways long haul meal service will make a dramatic u-turn. Service will start with a pretzel and welcome drink. Shortly thereafter, guests will be served a four course meal, including cheese, bread roll and a personal bottle of water. If there’s any room left in the tank, Magnums ice cream will feature as an after dinner treat. A second substantial meal will return on longer flights, or alternately a hot breakfast on overnight flights. And yes – bar service will remain complimentary. A more descriptive version of the experience can be found here.

a city street with many tall buildings and people crossing itThe Routes

This will expand to all British Airways long haul service on January 17th. So no – your flight from Europe to Europe will not receive four courses (nor should it). The first flight to receive the new and vastly improved meal service will be the BA117 operating from London Heathrow to New York. Expect to see this new catering on all flights starting January 17th. The longer the flight, the more food. It also appears that new and improved wine options will feature, with variation by route and region.

a tray of food on a tableThe Reaction

When you think of planes as an opportunity to target new customers for your wine, tea or food product – a plane is the most captive audience on earth. It’s phenomenal to see British Airways embracing this opportunity to improve service to dignified standards. The airline has been in a long standing price war with low cost competition, but for every action there must be a reaction. Customers are more than a fare and a positive experience is more powerful than airlines imagine. After all, many of our most read articles are about the best experiences, not the worst. People want the best, especially if it’s at a great price. With the soon to follow addition of wifi, British Airways will soon  offer a top drawer economy cabin. If it can fight on price too, it’s in for a long term winner – not a short term bandaid.

What do you think about these changes?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

Join the Conversation


  1. I flew from LHR > HKG 2 nights ago, in eco. I was absolutely starving during the flight. Served a 248g main course after leaving London, 7 hours in with 4 hours to go, I asked the crew if there was any snacks available. Without a smile, I was told breakfast would be served in 3 hours.

  2. Absolutely a positive change, but it is simply restoring what they used to have really and brings them up to the level of what we actually expect to receive from BA. Not much improvement beyond that to bring them closer to other ‘premium’ carriers out there.

  3. Reality check!
    This is simply restoring part of what was removed in the past few years. BA remain abysmal at; customer service, comfort, value, reliability in fact the only thing they excel at is marketing!
    Those flying economy should #flyABBA if they want a modicum of any of the above since BA remain bested by pretty much any other national carrier, including; AK, EK, EY, KLM, LH, ET on overall service e.g. working IFE and definitely on price and that’s without the hidden charges for seat reservation, etc.
    IF Mr/ Snr Cruz and co deigned to resource; responsive, effective customer services, cleaned their cabins, serviced their entertainment systems, reliably loaded all baggage and enough food for all paying passengers AND genuinely competed on price then there might be a reason to reconsider them but the recent cuts have gone far further than a tray full of product placements.
    Just check reviews over the past month:

  4. Good to hear BA are intending to return to previous levels of in flight food service. It has been seriously downgraded in recent years. The lounges, however, have always been excellent and it remains my favourite carrier although corrections, as above, were needed.

  5. As many of your readers have commented, this is simply a reaction to enormous negative publicity that BA has been presented with following the gradual decline in their Economy Longhaul offering.
    Having said that I look forward to experiencing the enhanced product on my forthcoming flight to and from Sydney. As a Gold for Life Executive Club member, I will be delighted to return to BA on a regular basis but they need to ensure a consistent level of service inflight which has been seriously lacking since the introduction of the Mixed Fleet crew.

  6. Great to hear this has been restored, we are flying economy (unfortunately) from Heathrow to Tokyo in June. Does anyone know do BA serve meals from front to back in Economy and know the best seats to choose?

  7. Unfortunately I doubt they will change their aging fleet..
    Took an 11 hour flight to Arizona and was shocked to see it was the same as the ones in the late 90s now old and tired, even old square pixel screens on eco class!
    Glad to see this back though but I think it’s too late, sometimes I wonder how they are still a 4* airline.. I’m sure they are close to dropping one more..
    Maybe thats the wakeup call needed!

  8. Flew in from London to port of Spain on Thursday and to my surprise the flight was smooth after that thick fog and to make the flight better what a huge improvement on the taste of the chicken tika masala, it was delicious delicious as well as the lemon cheese cake I polished it off

  9. “Genuinely improving” (if they bother loading it and you enjoy eating in a cramped filthy, ill maintained cabin).
    Good PR, we announced but they simply aren’t delivering this… frozen cream cheese bagel anyone? No, well perhaps a tomato flavoured chicken caesar roll?
    Oh, you’d like a snack during the flight? Well those “Tuck boxes” were mythical for anything other than the first couple of flights after the announcement. “Not loaded today”, well it seems that is a constant…

  10. Odd that 18monyhs after this article people are still being let down by inadequate loading and the food has reverted to variants on dog food and the cheapest rubberised egg “bruchetta” possible…
    IF the catering improved across the network, then it sure as hell hasn’t stuck, but reverted to barely edible muck in most cabins.

    Don’t arrive hungry, but fly back ABBA

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *