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.