British Airways passengers can now make inflight food and drink orders using a new App.
The arrival of the food and drinks trolley used to be a highlight of any flight, regardless of length, but its days are numbered, at least on short haul flights.
British Airways has introduced a digital ordering platform that enables passengers to purchase food and drink from its Speedbird Café menu in the air, and have it delivered to their seat on board.
Heathrow departures first
As is usual with these initiatives it will initially only be available on selected routes before being rolled out on short haul flights departing from LHR.
Not every flight though.
Express flights from Heathrow to Manchester, Jersey, Paris (CDG and ORY), Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, Newcastle and Newquay are considered to be too short to make the digital ordering platform practical.
Tom Kerridge included
Good news for any gourmet flyers is that the Tom Kerridge range of options, which according to Tom Stevens, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience, described as having gone down a treat with passengers is included in the new service.
Nothing is lost
The new service does not replace the existing pre-purchase options, which can be ordered via the highlifeshop.com website up to 12 hours before
Departure for Heathrow departures.
Customers travelling on an inbound service to Heathrow or Gatwick must place their prepurchase order 24 hours before departure.
Mr Stevens described the feedback BA has had from passengers who have been able to travel and have ordered from the new Speedbird Café has been extremely encouraging.
Being someone who likes what he likes when it comes to food, especially on aeroplanes I appreciate Stevens’ acknowledgement that passengers like being able to purchase their food in advance of travel and guarantee, their first choice.
However, we never know when the munchies are going to strike or the urge for another drink after a long day will hit. So, says Stevens, passengers are still able to order that extra cup of tea or a gin and tonic, when the need arises.
Whilst the British Airways’ Speedbird Café menu is available to pre-purchase at highlifeshop.com for short haul flights in Euro Traveller, the airline will continue to offer a complimentary bottle of water and snack to every passenger.
Pre-order/purchase is the way forward
The introduction of in-seat ordering follows the successful launch of ‘Your Menu’ in British Airways’ Heathrow lounges, the new digital table service which requires only the scan of a QR code to enable orders to be delivered to each individual passenger.
There is a COVID safety issue here, but one suspects that if BA is seen to save money because of these initiatives many more airlines will follow suit and pre-order could become the normal way of eating and drinking both in the lounge and in the air.
Pay with cards or points
Passengers will be advised by cabin crew on board if the digital ordering platform is available and will that the delivery of orders will follow the complimentary drinks and ‘Buy Before You Fly’ orders.
All the major credit and debit cards and Avios can be used to pay for food and drink, but no mention has been made by British Airways about cash payments.
I cannot help but feel that another part of the magic of flying is being lost in the name of some sort of safety or cost savings.
Deciding what I will want to eat in 12 or 24 hours is not something I do on the ground so I’m not a fan of doing it in the air.
Being the pessimistic old man that I am, I would rather like any airline with this system to guarantee that I will never have to fly with a passenger who cannot remember what they ordered or decides to change their mind when they see what the person across the aisle is eating.