British Airways wants you to eat better, sleep better

By David Flynn, April 6 2017
British Airways wants you to eat better, sleep better

British Airways hopes to reinvent everything from supper to sleep with a refresh of its Club World business class service to be rolled out from mid-year.

The airline says that in going back to the roots of its motto “To fly, to serve”, some aspects of the more personalised meal service have been modelled on the experiences of a boutique hotel and fine dining restaurant.

However, BA will stop short of offering ‘dine on demand’ which is to remain an exclusive component of its first class offering.

“We are going to change the overall quality of food and drink” promises British Airways CEO Alex Cruz in launching the new Club World proposition, “not just in quality but in the type of food and how it is presented.”

September will see the launch of a new “restaurant-style premium dining service”, matching higher-quality meals with a bespoke display trolley which puts the cart in a la carte when it comes to choosing starters and desserts.

This will debut between London and New York in September before being introduced on the rest of BA’s long-range network from 2018.

British Airways will also recalibrate its service routine “in order to maximise the number of sleep hours” on international routes, Cruz revealed.

The airline feels that “serious business travellers” from New York will eat before they board the flight, so the revamped business class and first class lounges at New York’s JFK Airport will both feature a dedicated ‘preflight’ dining room.

Travellers who’d rather eat on board will see an “express dining service” which the crew will begin almost as soon as they get out of their seats after take-off.

“On a typical flight from New York to London Heathrow you can expect a minimum five hours of rest in an environment with no noise and minimal movement so that passengers can sleep.”

This will be complemented by a new range of ‘soft product’ from July including linens, larger pillows, soft mattress toppers and duvets “to create a completely different ambience from what we have today,” Cruz says.

Sampling BA’s new Club World menu

A sampling of the new dishes was presented to international media on a three-hour Boeing 787 charter flight from London, on which Australian Business Traveller was a guest of British Airways.

Starters – on the large plate, from left to right – were Jamon Iberico, asparagus and manchego; burrata with tomato carpaccio and an olive oil and balsamic dressing; and a superb Loch Fyne smoked salmon tartare with wasabi creme fraiche.

The desserts trolley rolled along next...


... with double chocolate delight, lemon curd tart, and a cheese board with Cropwell Bishop Shropshire Blue, Golden Cenarth, Applewood Cheddar and Golden fig preserve, all served on black slate.

BA will also apply a £3.5 million upgrade to the food in its London Heathrow business class lounges in the third quarter of this year, including extending the breakfast menu to 11am and introducing hot food options in the late afternoon between lunch and dinner.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Thanks David for the overnight updates on BA. I see the UK's Business Traveller and Flyertalk has yet to report on these developments. Good job on getting ahead of the pack!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 362

Only serious business travellers eat before boarding? So the half joking business travellers will in turn put up with an "ehanced" onboard offering...


I can see where they are coming from. On evening TATL flight, its silly to cram eating and sleeping in that 7h window. I view those flights almost like that scene in the film The Fifth Element, where pax are knocked out before departure and revived shortly after the aircraft has landed. I'd personally have something freshly made on the ground before and after the flights, rather than eating the dried out meal. Day flights are a different matter, where I would prefer a steady and decent stream of light bites and snacks throughout the flight as fuel for when you're working. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 362

Fair enough TRB, although I have had a few flights where I wish "The Fifth Element" experience had of applied. But I digress...

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 445

If they maintain that level of catering, I will be amazed.  It looks stunning.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 681

While looking superbly understated, a slew of J Class black slate cheeseboards would certainly add one helluva lot of extra weight to the flight. I wonder how long they will last?


03 May 2013

Total posts 667

now change the seats in First and Business to stand a chance

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2014

Total posts 112

Bet they didn't run out of anything on that charter, unlike every other flight....

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Sep 2012

Total posts 241

I noticed the Do&Co branding. This is an Austrian company that does Austrian Airlines' catering as well as Turkish Airlines. The latter is especially known for its food, including the trolley service. If the new BA offering is anything like TK's then we're in for a treat.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Feb 2017

Total posts 24

What a brilliant idea, to let me see the food before I choose it.  Are you watching this, QANTAS?

British Airways - Executive Club

28 Mar 2014

Total posts 72

CX already do that. Not particularly innovative 

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 262

Not sure if many of you have seen the Heston episode where he works with BA - was really interesting. I think you can download on Foxtel. 

Shows the challenges with catering - while also making me prioritise eating in the lounge before I go (luckily Melbourne F typically)!

17 Mar 2017

Total posts 14

I think its great to see BA trying to reinvent themselves and to deserve the reputation that they have managed to cling on to. I really hope they pull it off and are able to offer something close to this to the majority of passengers. I look forward to seeing the new seats properly too, and really hope that the tease of potentially retrofitting other aircraft in the fleet becomes a reality.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 193

seriously?? so  tacky for a piled up trolley like this-when you pay premium you pay for the services not this fast food delivery


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 386

Good on them for trying something. Getting aircraft dining right, and to suit so many different cultures and so many different people and all the reasons why they fly, is an incredibly hard job!

06 Jan 2017

Total posts 5

Now if only they would change that stupid backward/forward seating plan it would be a great airline to fly J class with!!

British Airways - Executive Club

28 Mar 2014

Total posts 72

They need to stop buy on board on s/h flights if they are to be thought of as a worldclass airline.

The crew must hate it, as it takes twice as long as walking through the cabin and doling our a packet of nuts and a free G&T to all!


05 Jun 2012

Total posts 128

I wonder - do you get dessert AND cheese, or is it still either/or???  That was one element of the BA service that always came across as ridiculously cheap

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