During the spring British Airways introduced a brand new inflight service and meal concept in Club Europe, their business class on intra-European flights. The new concept is a great improvement. British Airways have not been this good on flight within Europe for many years and here is a short description of what the concept is like.
On longer intra-European flights, usually flights lasting at least two hours, there is now a proper three courses meal served on flight departing just before noon and during most of the afternoon and evening.
On shorter routes there is also an improved service, sometimes with a starter, the cheese and the dessert, the same ones served part of the full three courses meal. Paninis are sometimes also served, together with a dessert, and of course there is breakfast in the morning.
This is what the full Club Europe concept looks like on longer flights inside Europe:
There is no pre-departure drink but once in the air the inflight service starts with a cocktail of your choice, served with some nuts.
Wines and champagne are now served from large bottles and there are two reds and two whites. The champagne is still the Castelnau.
Next the menu is handed out, explaining the service concept and the different options.
The drinks menu is available on the back but unfortunately it does not list the wines available onboard.
Next the meal tray is handed out with the starter, the cheese and biscuits and the dessert. Napkin and cutlery are not available on the tray when it is handed out (there is no space) so these are offered separately by the crew. Bread rolls are offered from a basket.
After the plate used for the starter has been collected there are two choices of main course. The nice part of the concept is that these are served separately rather than having the full meal served at the same time. The service always starts from the front so if you want to make sure you get your first choice, do pick a seat on one of the front rows. Occasionally a proactive purser may ask gold card holders of there meal preferences during the beginning of the inflight service to make sure they get their first choices, but do not count on it.
Finally there is cheese with biscuits and some kind of marmalade, chutney or jelly and a dessert.
After the meal tray has been cleared coffee and tea are offered, served in new white mugs. Spirits are also offered and of course refills of wine and champagne are offered (and are available) throughout the flight.
The new Club Europe meal concept is great and really places British Airways among the best airlines in Europe for intra-European business class, at least when it comes to food and drinks, but they are obviously a major part of the experience.
The drawback is that the meal service is quite long and can take anything between 60 and 90 minutes once the aircraft has reached its cruising altitude, of course depending on the number of passengers in business class, so for most flights to continental Europe there will not be much time left to do other things during the flight. But obviously you are always free to decline the meal or just choose to have the starter, the cheese and the dessert (which are all served on the same tray), which will make the meal service much quicker.