News & offers: BA Club Europe meals revealed, BA Avios hotel & car hire offer, Garuda update, & more longhaul on short haul options

LONDON, UK: British Airways Club Europe food photographed at 21 August 2018 (Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

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BA Club Europe meals revealed

Over the last few days details have been emerging of the new Club Europe meals. BA have now released a few more details in the press release along with some pictures. You can find more details on the exact service changes in yesterdays article.

From September 12 BA will introduce new menus with improved recipes and signature warm breads. Menus have been developed around British ingredients. Launch options will include shaved Herefordshire roast beef on a tartar cream with rocket, British Reared Pork sausage and mash and a celebration of British cheeses.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience, said: “We’ve been investing in our meals for customers – our new long-haul Club World menus are proving incredibly popular and we want to be able to replicate that quality and choice in our short haul Club Europe cabin too.

“Many of our fliers travel regularly so we think they’ll appreciate more variety and great quality ingredients. Our focus on provenance will also deliver seasonal dishes from around the British Isles.”

The press release quotes “new wines “ served in quarter bottles which previously were always the ones served in economy on long haul, so we will see what the new wines will be like. I have a couple of different band flights in Club Europe before the end of the month so should be able to bring you a report soon after the change. They will also improve the coffee on board with it being provided by British speciality roaster, Union Hand-Roasted coffee.

The change in the provision of ice with drinks that I talked about yesterday means you will no longer be asked if you want ice – it will come automatically in some drinks like a gin and tonic whereas others, presumably things like juice, you will have to ask for it. I always specify how I want my drink anyway.

Short haul economy customers will also see the new Autumn M&S On Board menu launch. New items include a chicken and bacon sandwich and a new vegetarian café sandwich selection called ‘Life On The Veg’.

What do you think about the new Club Europe catering? Better or worse or about the same? Let me know in the comments below or on social media


BA Avios hotel and car hire offer – but is it a good deal?

BA are offering Executive Club members 15% off hotels and car hire booked using Avios booked between 3 September and 30 September 2018 for travel up to 31 December 2019. To use it simply go to the special BA page here and log in as usual. The prices you see will already include your 15% Avios discount. The discount applies to Avios or Avios+ cash bookings

The question is, should you? Using Avios for anything other than flights is generally a bad idea in terms of value for money, however, it all depends on your circumstances. If you are very Avios rich and can’t spend them (and don’t want to donate them to the TLFL team!) then this may be a good use of them if you would otherwise be letting them go to waste.

However, if we have a quick look at the Kimpton da Witt in Amsterdam as an example we can compare them. To buy a room costs £288 on the cheapest I could find online for last minute availability. With Avios it would cost you 54,350. If you were to spend those Avios on a flight instead you could get 2 European off-peak business class returns or nearly enough for a first class return to Moscow at 68,000 or a return flight in Premium Economy to New York.


Garuda Indonesia update

Garuda business class

Garuda business class

I wrote previously about the fact that one of the best sources of bargain business and first class travel, Garuda, was stopping flights to Jakarta from the UK from 30 October 2018. Garuda has now revealed that it will still be selling tickets from London but the routeing will be via Amsterdam with its Skyteam partners, which in this case one would assume would be KLM. It makes Garuda a less attractive option as when you add in the extra hassle to get to Amsterdam it doesn’t compare so well with the likes of a Qatar ex EU sale fare (if we ever see any more of them). However, with them being part of Skyteam it could still be worth considering if the price is right due to the upcoming KLM/Delta/Air France/Virgin partnership from April 2019 which will allow you to collect and use miles across all the 4 partners.


More long-haul business class on short haul

Iberia A350-900 business class review footstool

Iberia A350-900 business class seat (photo by Paul IG: @instabatraveller)

I often write about how to experience long-haul business class seats on short haul. There are now two further opportunities available coming up that will allow you to do this.

The Iberia A350-900 which we reviewed here and here will be back on the London route between 8 March and 30 March 2019 to Madrid on IB3166 and BA522 services. You could, of course, choose to get this ticket on Avios as a cheap way to try out Iberia’s service. I was very impressed with the spacious seats. You can find the prices on Iberia here.

Swiss B777 business class seat


Swiss will also be using its B777 on two services to London on 16 February on LX318/319 and on 23 March 2019 on LX324/325. If you have considered using Swiss long haul it could be a good way to try out the service before committing to the seat for a long journey.

6 Comments on "News & offers: BA Club Europe meals revealed, BA Avios hotel & car hire offer, Garuda update, & more longhaul on short haul options"

  1. Looking at a professional photo of the food is often different to the real thing, and BA doesn’t score well in the food department now.

  2. Hello Michelle, are you able to distinguish the difference between the 4 bands of Club Europe, I’m not that familiar with the old banding system and am flying with my wife to Barcelona in October on Club Europe and I have assumed that will be band 3 am I right? And do you know what that will mean in terms of meals? Thanks for your articles I don’t fly as often as I like but I really enjoy reading them!

    • Hi. I will be publishing the full banding list next week before it starts. Hopefully will have more details on the meals by then too.

  3. We flew BA Club to Alicante on the 12th September and we were really impressed with the new food offering. Presentation, quality and quantity and in particular, flavour of the meal was excellent with three choices of the main. My only criticism is that the hot main meal was served at the same time as the starter, desert and cheese. I liked the return to small bottles of wine but disappointed that none of the whites or champagne had been pre-chilled. Fortunately we had a great crew who put a few into an ice bucket to keep us topped up during the flight.

    • Thanks for the info Carole. I have found the white wines are never properly chilled on Club Europe for some reason

  4. Justin Moseley | 23 September 2018 at 7:43 pm |

    I flew on the afternoon Shuttle from Belfast City to Heathrow at 1525 today, so was offered the Afternoon Tea. It’s a short sector (50 mins from take off to landing today), so it was a bit rushed, especially as I was in Row 5 of Club so the last to be served 5 mins before top of descent.
    There were three mini-sandwiches: a roast beef and horseradish mini-bap, a chicken and mayonnaise finger sandwich and sliced cheese and walnut on a type of rye bread not dissimilar to pumpernickel. This last was like two pieces of cardboard, but the first two were nice. I was offered a choice of warm plain or fruit scone or a choice of rolls. There was a small pot of Rhodda Clotted Cream and a Wilkins strawberry jam. The fruit scone was light and moist and the jam (first) and cream (on top!) were of the usual standard for these companies. Finally there was a small triangle of Dundee cake which was moist and fruity but a little too sweet. Accompanied by a small bottle of the usual Castelnau champagne, the tea was perfectly acceptable.
    The crew were collecting trays before I had got round to the cake and I had to ask for a cup of tea after this. They were happy for me to hang on to the cake, champagne and tea until the seatbelt sign went on as we were cleared off Bovingdon.
    Overall, it was fine, given the time pressure of the sector length. I would give the cheese/rye combination a miss next time!
    I took some pictures but don’t think I can post them here. I will try on the TLFL Facebook page.

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