Our Reader Review for today is from Robert Farrugia, who is the Author of How to Get Luxury Travel for Less .
I recently took advantage of the British Airways Holidays double tier points offer to book a good value trip from Manchester to Prague via Heathrow with five nights hotel stay. Flights were in Club Europe and the package was good value at GBP450 earning 320 tier points (even better after a substantial refund for a hotel reallocation, but that’s not the focus of this report).
Flying four sectors at different times of the day allowed me to see what BA’s apparently improved Club Europe meal offering was like. There was some inconsistency regarding menus and service, but the meals themselves were overall pretty good.
Manchester to Heathrow, BA1399, 14:45 departure
This meal is billed by BA as afternoon tea. It’s a very minimalist approach to that traditional English staple, but the brevity of this flight necessitates a small meal and quick service. The individual components were of good quality, especially the open sandwiches of smoked salmon, roast beef, and cheddar cheese. The sweet elements were a tiny Victoria sponge and a warm scone with cream and jam.
Heathrow to Prague, BA858, 19:55 departure
I chose the vegetable korma option for this flight. The spiciness was mild, as you’d expect from a korma, but still tasteful. The accompaniments were cauliflower in an unidentified sauce – there was no menu card offered on this sector – and the now standard Do&Co chocolate dessert.
Prague to Heathrow, BA853, 07:00 departure
Rather than the ubiquitous full English breakfast, I opted for the omelette frittata accompanied by sun-dried tomatoes. I found it suitably filling for the 90-minute flight, although the omelette could have done with something to add some extra taste.
Two very crumbly small croissants were served along with a pot of jam, but no butter. A Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain bar completed the tray. BA are still serving hot beverages in paper cups. I’ve heard differing stories as to why ceramic mugs are not in use, but the paper cups do jar a little with the business class experience.
The service on this flight was also noticeable for starting from the rear of the cabin. I’m not aware of anyone not getting their preferred choice, but it is a departure from BA’s service standard which prioritises the forward rows where higher status cardholders are more likely to be seated. I thought it was a one-off but the following flight showed it wasn’t.
Heathrow to Manchester, BA1393, 13:05 departure
Another snack-size meal for one of the shortest flights on BA’s network. Billed as a salad, it consisted of three small pieces of roast beef on a pea-and-lettuce base with a generous serving of horseradish sauce. A roll and chocolate dessert were the additions.
Overall, the quality of the meals was good and the quantities I think are about right for the respective durations of the flights. There is some inconsistency around the service itself with menu cards offered on some sectors and not on others, plus the back-to-front serving on two of the flights, but the crews were good on all flights and I do think this is an improvement from BA.
Now, let’s just see how long before my BA Holidays bonus tier points arrive. Last time it was six months!
Did you chase your bonus holiday tier points or just wait the 6 months? The TP from my final trip of the year is required to renew my status so I’m sure as hell not waiting 6 months for them to apply 😂
They have fixed the issue now Mine in September came back after about a week.
your double points are normally added about 10 days after you come back-mine certainly have so far
The food shown looks very good compared with what I received in Club Europe to and from Gran Canaria last week. As I was not prepared to pay £25 or £28 each way to reserve seats I ended in in row 7 outbound and row 8 for the return.On both flights I was offered no choice of main course as they had run out of all bar one option. I rejected both meals as i do not like either Gnocci (outbound) or vegetable curry (return). All I could eat both times was Cheese and biscuits. This would have been acceptable were it not for the fact that the cheese consisted of only two tiny slithers plus a single spoonful of Tiramisu.It seems BA is being very mean with the supply of food but over generous with the alcohol. The man next to me managed to order 6 small bottles of Champagne and was supplied without question whilst i received only ‘mouse food’ for a 4.5 hour flight.
Had i been able to eat much in the Business class lounge at Gatwick before departure things would not have been so bad. The lounge was far worse that either My lounge, no1 lounge or Virgin Lounges. They offered the cheapest, nastiest sandwiches I have seen for a long time with cheap ingredients (egg and cress) and wafer thin fillings. Tesco sandwiches are far superior. I was also disappointed that there are no newspapers available – because of Covid I was told!
Flew out to Madeira on December 2nd on the only flight of the day. Despite having vegan meals ordered weeks in advance, these had not been uploaded at LHR. Crew managed to cobble together some sort of alternative from their ‘rations’. They’ve now done away with the comment forms onboard, so I need to find out how to complain. The last time this happened was when flying to ATH, the first flight of the day was cancelled and we got rebooked on the third flight and we’re told that the pre-ordered vegan meals would get uploaded on to this flight. On both occasions, the return flights went well, except for the lack of a lounge at Funchal and no vouchers provided for use in the airport restaurants or in lieu!
There is a form on the BA website. It can take a considerable amount of time to get a reply but you should get some Avios as compensation.
Thanks, Michelle for the helpful advice. Have a good week.
I love flying BA and love Heathrow, I’d not be able to put forward and tangible reasons why, I just fly them in Club Europe a lot and I love Heathrow. The lounges just suit my taste in food and they are very convenient to pop in and out of. Sure, Qatar have a lovely lounge in Doha for Qatar Business passengers but I find it very time consuming and fussy. However, having flown BA Club Europe at least once a week since Spring when things opened up a bit, I have booked economy tickets for all of Q1-2023. The food just isn’t good enough and it is not worth the hassle of eating on a plane. Way better to book economy and have food before boarding, either in BA lounge, partner lounge or a nice restaurant if one is available. Now with the move to Avios based on spend I don’t know what BA see as the future. As I say, I love BA and will fly them but only in Economy. Long Haul they are very very very rarely the best choice so it is highly unlikely I’ll be in a paid J seat again. People may mention the lounge and fast track I get from BAEC, but that only makes BA a better eco bet than say LH. Of BA restrict BAEC materially I’ll be on easyJet or LH or KLM etc. Honestly, the food BA have set in front of me some days is hard to believe, I give them comfortably 3, 4, 5 or more times the price of economy and I can’t even get a tenner of food. Trust has been broken, I actually flew a few economy legs last week and it was great, I actually enjoyed the peace and reading my book for 90 mins.
I couldn’t agree more. So many people are locked in by their inherited slot dominance that they don’t realise how poor BA is relative to their competitors & for the fares demanded…
#BestAvoided if you value quality, comfort or service (on the ground, their crew are generally still ace especially given they’re operating with one hand tied behind their back as a result of bad management descisions and inadequate infrastructure).
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