British Airways Announces Details Of A Club Europe Catering Upgrade

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I’ve long said that I don’t see the value in European short-haul Business Class fares because the offering usually isn’t compelling enough to warrant the considerable premium charged over Economy Class.

British Airways Club Europe (what the airline calls it’s short-haul Business Class product) offers a very good example of why I generally don’t see the point of booking a short-haul Business Class fare – it’s an all-round mediocre experience.

In Club Europe you get a guaranteed empty seat next to you but you get no more leg-room than you would get if you were seated in a regular Economy Class seat just a few rows back.

a row of black and white seats
British Airways A320 Club Europe

I’m not particularly broad at the shoulders (or wide at the waist…yet) so having extra space next to me isn’t a big deal….but I do have long legs so leg-room is important to me.

I get more leg-room in a BA Economy Class exit row than in Club Europe so that’s my preferred place to sit when flying short-haul. In fact, I prefer the BA exit rows so much that I often complain when I’m upgraded out of them!

British Airways Economy Class A320
The leg room is good in the exit rows

Although I’m definitely not a fan of the Club Europe hard product I’ve never really had a major issue with the food that is served in the cabin.

I’ve had some reasonable meals served to me in Club Europe…

a tray with food on it a plate of food and a drink on a tray

….and, generally speaking, I’ve found it to be better than a lot of what is served in US domestic First Class.

Overall it really isn’t all that bad and, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m not known for saying nice things about BA without good reason.

Still, apparently the Club Europe food needed a make-over and, ironically for me, that’s exactly what British Airways is focusing on right now.

Here’s what BA has announced:

“From September 12 the airline will introduce new menus with improved recipes and signature warm breads. There’s also a commitment to provenance, with dishes developed around key 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 chesses.”

“On the airline’s longer short haul flights to destinations such as Faro, customers will now have the choice of two hot options and one cold. Menus on flights to and from Heathrow will also be changed twice a month, rather than monthly.”

a collage of different foods
Images courtesy of British Airways

Presumably the “launch options” mentioned in the first paragraph should refer to “lunch options” and aren’t something you’ll find on the next Soyuz mission to the International Space Station and I’m going to guess that the “chesses” mentioned later in the same paragraph refer to products like Stilton and Cheddar rather than variations of the game Bobby Fischer was quite good at


As well as refreshing the food that’s served onboard British Airways is also “refining” the beverages it offers – new wines will be served in quarter bottles and the coffee will be supplied by Union Hand-Roasted Coffee (a gourmet British roasting company).

a close-up of food on a plate
Images courtesy of British Airways

Economy Class passengers will see changes in their short-haul food options too as British Airways introduces the Autumn (fall) menu from Marks & Spencer.

Amongst the new items on the buy-on-board menu will be a chicken & bacon sandwich and a selection of vegetarian items called “Life On The Veg”.


The fact that I have never really had a big issue with the food served in Club Europe probably stems from the fact that I don’t actually fly in the cabin all that often. It’s very possible that, while this news is really neither here nor there to me, BA’s investment in Club Europe food will be welcomed by others.

I can imagine that very regular Club Europe flyers will be pleased to find that the menus offered on flights out of Heathrow will be changed twice a month (that should ease a little of the monotony) but it’s worth remembering that flights out of Gatwick will keep with only a single change every month.

As much as I wish BA would plough some money into making the cabin and seats in Club Europe a truly premium product I also realise that that’s simply never going to happen….so I guess this will have to do.

Improved and more varied food is better than nothing but it isn’t enough to make me reconsider my position that, unless I need the tier points, I will stick to booking short-haul Economy Class fares and using my oneworld status to reserve a seat in an exit row – for me the value is still not there when it comes to Club Europe.