British Airways Ups Its Game For Short-Haul Catering

British Airways today revealed its new catering proposition on short-haul flights. The British flag carrier’s moves see considerable changes in the short-haul economy offering, while additional improvements will be seen in other cabins across the fleet.

British Airways, Short Haul, Catering
British Airways has revealed its new catering partner… And it’s not Waitrose or Greggs. Photo: British Airways

Late last year, British Airways revealed that its short-haul catering partnership with Marks and Spencer would end. The airline has already reduced its catering service to a water bottle and a snack on relevant flights due to COVID-19, and the contract had reached its natural end. At the time, there was speculation that Greggs or Waitrose would step in to fill the gap. Simple Flying can now reveal that the new catering partner is Tom Kerridge.

Tom Kerridge – Michelin star chef

The new menu has been developed in collaboration with Tom Kerridge, a British chef with three Michelin stars. Kerridge has created a range of new gourmet items to be sold onboard British Airways’ short-haul flights in the economy cabin. The new offering will be called Speedbird Café. At the present moment in time, five items on the menu have been revealed,

  • The Ham Hock & Smoked Cheddar Sandwich – £4.10 ($5.56)
  • The Spiced Cauliflower Tortilla Wrap – £4.20 ($5.69)
  • The Chicken & Bacon Baguette – £4.50 ($6.10)
  • The Brie Ploughman’s Sandwich – £4.20 ($5.69)
  • Steak & Ale Pie – £4.50 ($6.10)
British Airways, Short Haul, Catering
The new buy before you fly menu was developed with Michelin chef Tom Kerridge. Photo: British Airways

Commenting on his new menu, Kerridge said,

“I am truly happy to be working with British Airways again, and to have the opportunity to champion the best of British to so many people. A sandwich, made with care and great flavours, can be a perfect meal and I hope the passengers enjoy my short haul menu.”

The airline also has a new addition in the drinks department. British Airways fliers may remember that the airline launched a limited-edition IPA beer called Speedbird 100 in partnership with Brewdog to celebrate its centenary. The brew was clearly a success, as the airline will now stock a new brew on flights called JetStream, again developed with Brewdog.

British Airways, Short Haul, Catering
British Airways has also developed a new IPA with Brewdog to serve onboard flights. Photo: British Airways

Buy before you fly

Buy before you fly is the new buy onboard at British Airways. The airline’s previous model saw each flight being catered, with limited food sold on a first-come-first-served basis. This could mean that those at the back of the cabin could miss out on food if the front of the plane were particularly hungry.

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Moving forwards, British Airways will be replacing buy onboard with buy before you fly. Customers will be able to prepurchase food up to 12 hours before their flight at the airline’s online HighLife shop. The model should mean that those at the back of the plane don’t go hungry. It also will help the airline to reduce onboard waste, as there won’t be excess food.

There will still be a benefit with the new menu for those who don’t wish to prepurchase food. Before the current situation, if you didn’t buy onboard, you didn’t get anything. During the pandemic, British Airways replaced buy onboard with free water and a small snack for everybody. This will continue with the new menu. Rival airline Lufthansa recently announced that it was scrapping its free snack for a buy onboard menu.

British Airways, Short Haul, Catering
Passengers will be able to purchase food up to 12 hours before their flight. Photo: British Airways

Improvements in the other cabins

It’s not just the short-haul economy that is benefiting from the change. From January 20th, the airline will be working to move back to offering catering with china and glassware. Paper boxes replaced this at the height of the pandemic. The airline has also been working with Do&Co to develop new menus for Club Europe and long-haul flights.

The catering transition is accompanied by one more point. In September 2020, Simple Flying analyzed how likely passengers were to have WiFi on flights. As part of its announcement, British Airways confirmed that it had completed a full WiFi rollout across its short-haul Airbus fleet.

What do you make of the new buy before you fly menu? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!