BA to bring back second meal on long haul flights in 2018

Written by: Felicity Stredder |
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British Airways CEO Alex Cruz has announced the roll-out of a £4.5bn investment programme in 2018, which will see inflight catering improved, alongside other changes.

Under Cruz’s new leadership, the airline’s catering structure has undergone significant transformation of late, much to the dismay of passengers. The traditional second meal served on long haul flights was replaced by a smaller, snack-style offering, while complimentary meals on short haul flights in economy were scrapped altogether, in favour of “buy on board” catering.

Following a negative response from passengers, however, it seems the airline is rethinking some of its drastic cuts, and has publicised plans to reinstate a proper second meal on long haul flights. “We will upgrade catering so that everyone has better snacks and, on longer flights, everyone has a full second meal,” Cruz told the audience at World Travel Market in London this week.

The short haul “buy on board” service, one of Cruz’s first changes as CEO, has also been met with criticism, as stocking issues have seen the airline repeatedly run out of food before all passengers had been served.

Cruz admitted that the roll-out of the service had been flawed and that modifications have been made in response to feedback from customers and crew. “We have simplified the menu and we have allocated more crew at busier times to ensure we can provide a faster service,” he said. “Take-up is running much, much higher than we initially expected, and we are committed to making this element of the customer experience the best in the airline industry.”

Aside from catering concerns, the improvement programme will also incorporate the procurement of 72 new aircraft, the upgrading of 128 existing planes and the implementation of “the best Wi-Fi in the sky”, according to Cruz. Passengers will also benefit from charging points installed at every aircraft seat, he pledged, and at BA’s Heathrow Terminal 5 base they will benefit from speedier boarding, thanks to new biometric departure gates.

Passengers can also expect plenty of new destinations next year, with the airline expecting to fly 38 more routes in summer 2018 than it did in the summer of 2016: an increase of one-sixth in two years. Two such routes include long haul services from Heathrow to Nashville and the Seychelles.

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