Reply To: Heston Blumenthal tackles airline food

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I just don’t agree that BA’s food is “ghastly” in all classes.

Now, I haven’t been on BA longhaul for about ten weeks, but prior to that I have NEVER had a genuinely bad meal on board.

About the worst I experienced was an attempt at Lobster in Club World about ten months ago, which was high risk and predictably dry. YES, LOBSTER IN CLUB WORLD. But at least they had a go!

Shorthaul CE cold offering is pretty good, apart from the artichoke salad. The breakfast remains very good, in my opinion.

On board longhaul I always choose carefully; I don’t expect them to produce a decent steak and choose based more on what I know is less likely to be messed up by GateGourmet, rather than anything else.

Curries always work well in Club, in First the Loch Fyne offering is consistently good in my experience, and the soups are tasty.

I do make more use of the salt and pepper at altitude than I would on the ground, and that’s a good tip to better enjoy what you eat.

I don’t expect Michelin star food at altitude; I want something tasty, moist and filling, and the further forward I sit, the better I expect the quality in terms of quality/freshness of ingredients and the way in which it is presented on the plate.

Having said that, anecdotal evidence suggests there have been some quite serious reductions in longhaul catering quality lately; given the previously reduced demand for premium tickets, lower margins on premium fares and need to preserve cashflow, this did seem to be the right thing to do at the time, given budgets/orders are set several months in advance of delivery.

Most companies have trimmed budgets across the board (I’m sure we’ve all seen cost cutting in our personal budgets and at those of the firms at which we work), so it was the right thing to do.

The time of austerity is now passing, the threat of strikes is now immaterial, and strength is returning to premium volumes and margins are increasing.

It is my understanding that there will be considerable investment in redesigning catering on board all routes during the course of 2011 (I was told May, but of course that could change), and some of this might incorporate some of the aspects HB brought to bear during his experiments on board.

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