Speedbird Café: British Airways unveils new pre-order menu for short-haul flights

Jan 8, 2021

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British Airways isn’t turning to either Greggs or Waitrose for its buy on board offering. Instead, the U.K.’s flag carrier has introduced a new pre-order menu option for Euro Traveller passengers.

Called the Speedbird Café, the new menu offerings will only be available for pre-orders. Crafted by Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, passengers in economy on short-haul flights must purchase their choice online before flying.

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The new pre-order options will be available as the only onboard catering option on BA’s short-haul European flights. However, the airline is keeping its complimentary refreshments on all Euro Traveller flights, which includes a bottle of water and a snack for passengers.

“Over the last few months we know that our customers have valued the complimentary refreshments offered, so they’re here to stay,” BA Director of Brand and Customer Experience Carolina Martinoli said in a statement.

The key with these new offerings from Kerridge and BA is that you must order your choice before you get on board the plane — up to 12 hours before departure. While the move will reduce waste for the airline in that it’s not loading meals that ultimately might not be ordered, it puts the onus on the passenger to predict what they’ll want on their future flight.

(Photo courtesy of British Airways)

On Kerridge’s menu are options such as warm steak and ale pie (£4.50), ham hock and smoked cheddar sandwich (£4.10), spiced cauliflower tortilla wrap (£4.20), chicken, bacon and celery brioche (£4.50) and brie ploughman’s sandwich (£4.20).

In October, British Airways announced that it had parted ways with Marks & Spencer, which had been the long-time supplier of BA’s buy on board menu. At the time, there were rumours that Greggs or Waitrose would replace that option, however, we now know it will be a pre-order option from Tom Kerridge.

(Photo courtesy of British Airways)

BA says that the introduction of its Speedbird Café is the latest in its move to improve the short-haul passenger experience. All of its short-haul aircraft now feature Wi-Fi available for purchase, and passengers can now also pre-order duty-free items through the same Speedbird Café system. It’s also introducing a BrewDog IPA available for purchase on board.

Singapore Airlines offers a similar service for its premium long-haul passengers in the form of its Book the Cook offering. With it, eligible passengers can select their meal ahead of their flight. However, even if they elect not to choose in advance, they will still be able to order from a menu while in flight. With BA’s Speedbird Café, you won’t be able to order a meal on board if you didn’t do so in advance.

Featured photo courtesy of British Airways.

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