British Airways has today announced that it will be partnering with celebrated, British Michelin-starred chef, Tom Kerridge, who has designed a number of gourmet food items, which include signature pies and sandwiches, to pre-purchase for the airline’s Euro Traveller (short haul economy) customers.  

“The move marks a renewed focus on the short haul customer experience, which also includes the completion of a full WiFi rollout across its airbus short haul fleet and the ability to pre-order duty free items directly to customers’ seats through its inflight retail site, Highlifeshop.com,” states British Airways. It’s clear to see that the return to a simplified complimentary catering offering during the pandemic was well received, so passengers will still receive complimentary water and a snack, such as a breakfast bar of crisps.

Those wishing to purchase more substantial food options, designed by Tom Kerridge, as well as other food and drink items can now do so through the airline’s the new online pre-order Speedbird Café hosted on British Airways’ inflight retail site www.highlifeshop.com up until 12 hours before the flight. However the new food offerings are currently only available as a pre-order option in a bid to reduce weight and wastage onboard, meaning that guessing your appetite will become a new art form.

“Speedbird Café will launch as a pre-order proposition, which will allow customers to customise their journey by purchasing food, drink and inflight retail items up to 12 hours before departure. It also helps the airline in its efforts to reduce onboard waste as part of its commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.” By this own admission it seems that the airline will probably bring back a full service including ordering onboard, once passenger levels are closer to pre-pandemic levels.

The heart of the selection brought to BA by Tourvest will be Tom Kerridge’s range of items, including (to start with) British classics such as Warm Steak & Ale Pie; Ham Hock & Smoked Cheddar Sandwiches; a Spiced Cauliflower Tortilla Wrap; Chicken, Bacon and Celery Brioche; and a Brie Ploughman’s Sandwich.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience, said: “Over the last few months we know that our customers have valued the complimentary refreshments offered, so they’re here to stay. But in addition, we also wanted to offer more choice and the ability to buy something more substantial. After a successful partnership with M&S, we have teamed up with another British favourite, chef Tom Kerridge.

“Our expert teams have worked closely with Tom to create delicious British staples for our short haul menu. We know how popular the menus that Tom designed for our centenary were with our customers, so we are delighted to be working with him again and can’t wait for our customers to experience his fantastic new food at 35,000ft.”

Tom Kerridge, Michelin starred chef, 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.” It’s a clever partnership, as the chef endorsement helps elevate the airline’s brand positioning much like Heston Blumenthal did with Waitrose.

But what of Club Europe and Club World, whereby passengers are still being offered box meals, which goes against the grain of most other airlines who have now re-introduced full dining once more? Good news, it seems this announcement is just the tip of the iceberg as the airline will also be moving to the next phase of its on-board catering experience in Club Europe and on all long haul flights from 20 January 2021.

The airline’s culinary teams have been working with world class caterers, Do&Co, to develop exciting new menus in its Club Europe and all other long haul cabins, as well as adapting the meal service to reintroduce china and glassware.

Posted by:Jonny Clark

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