There’s nothing too classy about unnecessary plastics and paper boxed lunches these days, particularly when you’ve paid thousands for a first or business class ticket, and are expecting something a bit more refined for your buck.
These are first world problems during a pandemic, but that doesn’t mean they’re not solvable problems, or necessary problems at all, particularly when other airlines have managed to keep service to pre-pandemic levels, down to the bone china and mother of pearl spoons.
Good news is finally here, or at least …coming for British Airways fans!
After much ado, British Airways is in all capitals FINALLY reintroducing glassware and proper plates to its on board service, answering the many calls to return to some level of normal standards, but it won’t be tomorrow.
In correspondence from BA customer managers, and as corroborated by sources inside the airline, British Airways promises to have at least some level of crockery back on board by January 20th, 2021. With any hope, “by” means “sooner than”.
How it could take over 40 days to do the dishes and put them back on board is another story, but we’ll take the good news for what it is, and hope British Airways finds ways to exceeds customer expectation. Eventually, meals will be served on real plates, and drinks in real glasses again, just like the other airlines! And it won’t even be February yet when it happens, according to current timelines.
British Airways Sold The Family China
Rather than offer any particularly jaw dropping sales on flights during Black Friday & Cyber Monday, British Airways made headlines around the world by selling the “family” china. Our friends Head For Points wrote quite an amusing article on the subject.
In fairness, With the retirement of the Boeing 747, and emergence of the Airbus A350 and 787 Dreamliner, the airline has far fewer first class seats now, which legitimately means less need for first class tea cups and other service items, which were ordered in vain before the pandemic when many planes had longer life expectancies.
The crockery sale sent a fairly mixed message from the airline, given the timing around Black Friday and financial reports indicating more stress than airline bosses let on.
British Airways: no, we don’t need epic sales this Black Friday, things are fine.
Also British Airways: Quick, sell the china, let’s get some cash!
But the buying or selling of tea cups and lovely plate settings isn’t what most travelers are particularly concerned about these days. It’s more about when they’ll be able to enjoy them on board, with food served on top, in a fashion resembling simpler and more enjoyable flying times.
Not that people ever admired them, but any sympathy for BA serving pre-pack lunches and mini bottles of wine from economy in first class and business class – yes, that’s a thing – is long gone.
People bought in during the early days of the pandemic, and the brave new world, but thanks the magic of the internet, and YouTube along with it, first hand accounts of the experiences other airlines are providing are leaving much to be desired.
Hint: most other airlines are not serving boxed and sealed sandwiches and mini bottles from economy in long haul first or business class, nor did they.
British Airways has been accused of placing unnecessary cost cutting measures above customer satisfaction at multiple junctures during the pandemic, from on board meals and the closure of lounges, to the mysterious removal of the refund button from its website, which magically reappeared last week after a six month hiatus.
Internal communications seen by GSTP suggest BA staff briefings in early January on the return of service, with a focus on plates, glassware, silverware and all the rest of the family jewels. Roll out is expected on board by the 20th of January, 2021. With all things during a pandemic, anything is subject to change.
For those hoping to experience BA’s cabin service at its very best during the holiday period, that’s sounding all the more unlikely, but not impossible.
“By January 20th” does not mean the airline can’t come out aces, and surprise everyone tomorrow with a full on board service with proper plating. No one hopes they do more than I do. Whatever the eventual date may be, British Airways must wow its fans upon return. With 8 months to learn from customer feedback, and not a single meal served on real plates, there was plenty of time to reconfigure and improve.
Under BA’s previous CEO Alex Cruz, many improvements were made to plane food, booze and crockery, including a move to DO&CO, which is easily regarded among the most sought after high end airline caterers. Efforts were also being made to speed up service elements to maximize sleep on overnight flights, a key request from customers.
You’d certainly like to think that the airline used this last 6-8 months to considering new styles of on board service, like ‘dine on demand’, championed by alliance partner and BA shareholder Qatar Airways.
If your travel with British Airways is contingent upon being able to enjoy your drink in a proper glass, rather than a plastic cup, or a hot meal on a plate, rather than a box, it’s mostly good news. All signs point to a return by late January, which means most travel in 2021 should feel “worth it”. Any day sooner is a win, or at least less of an egregious error in cost cutting.
Until then, the clinking cheers to toast a trip will be more like a dull, muted tap of a contactless payment card against a machine, with plastic cups to thank.