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British Airways reveals the pre-packed future for inflight meals

No alcohol in short-haul economy and no queuing for the toilet

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Wednesday 17 June 2020 08:50 BST
Ground stop: British Airways jets parked at Bournemouth airport
Ground stop: British Airways jets parked at Bournemouth airport (Matt Carter/@matt_carter787)

British Airways has revealed a much reduced inflight catering service, which includes pre-packed meals – but no alcohol in short-haul economy.

The airline is preparing to step up operations after grounding almost all services as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

BA says: “We’ve introduced an enhanced temporary catering proposition.

“Our new food service requires less interaction with our cabin crew, greatly reducing physical contact.

“You’ll be offered a new food service which will reduce physical contact with our crew, you’ll be able to choose between a vegetarian or non-vegetarian option.

“If you have special dietary requirements or allergies, please bring your own food and snacks.”

On domestic and short-haul economy flights, passengers will get a bottle of water and “refreshment”.

“Please speak to a member of crew if you would like a juice or hot drink,” says BA.

Passengers in the airline’s short-haul business class, Club Europe, get “a light snack (breakfast or all-day option)” and alcohol served either as miniatures or quarter-bottles of wine.

Long-haul passengers in economy, World Traveller Plus and Club World, will also be offered alcohol, as well as “a meal service (breakfast or all-day option)”.

The Club Kitchen, offering inflight snacks to passengers, is reduced to “pre-packaged ambient snacks – such as nuts, popcorn, biscuits, chocolate and crisps”.

First class passengers get “a la carte menu with safely pre-packaged options, offering a range of hot and cold items”.

British Airways will not offer special meals, including those for children.

It says: “If you would like to bring your own food on board, we suggest you purchase food before you reach the airport, as many restaurants and shops at the airport may be closed.”

Many other temporary changes have been imposed – though British Airways emphasises that passengers need not arrive any earlier than normal.

“If you’re flying to a short-haul destination please arrive no earlier than two hours ahead,” it says.

“For long-haul flights, we’d ask you to arrive no earlier than three hours ahead of your scheduled flight time.”

BA says: “We require all customers to wear a face mask at all times in the airport and on board. As a guide, a face mask could last up to four hours, so please make sure that you bring enough for the duration of your trip.”

Passengers will be able to remove their face masks to eat and drink.

Fast Track security for premium passengers is unavailable, and all BA’s departure and arrival lounges are closed.

Priority boarding is available only “for families and customers who may need additional time to board”.

“We will board from the rear of the aircraft to the front,” the airline says – though “if you’re travelling in first, then you will board first from the first row to the back row of the cabin”.

There will be no on-board duty-free sales, and magazines and newspapers will not be available.

Passengers wishing to use the inflight toilets are asked: “We would ask you to only get up when the green ‘vacant’ sign is lit to avoid queueing.”

On arrival, the usual jostle of passengers retrieving cabin baggage will not be allowed.

The airline says: “We will be asking you to disembark in small groups by row number so please do not leave your seat and retrieve any personal belongings from the overhead lockers until invited to do so.”

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