Dear Editor, As someone who handles a very large volume of business travel for my company, (as well as managing our in-house catering services), I read Richard McComb’s review of his British Airways meal with interest.
However, I do think it smacked of throwing your teddy out of the pram.
I have travelled (for both business and pleasure) fairly frequently over the last 30 years in all classes from first to economy.
I think that to expect more than a minimal service of food is unrealistic.
When considering the distance the prepared food has to travel, the way in which it must be kept at the correct temperature and the necessity of pleasing as many passengers as you can, then it is unlikely, even in first class, to experience anything more than low average quality.
I recently travelled business class on KLM and not only did they not have enough food in business class, most of it was inedible – for me, though others tucked in with relish.
More recently, I travelled in BA premium economy and the meal was lasagne and it was terrific – I could not complain.
Many years ago I got bumped into first class on the now sadly defunct British Caldeonian and they had a carvery trolly in first class – that was a memorable meal.
Last year I flew on Air France, in economy, and though the food was reasonable, the toilets were absolutely filthy.
Better clean toilets than fancy food, in my view!
Air fares are relatively low for those of us who fly economy and so I don’t think we should complain too much.
I can see a time when everything will be like Ryanair and you will be charged for everything extra, including a glass of water or the very air you breathe.
Years and years ago I flew with Freddie Laker and you paid for only the meals you wanted.
I happened to be going from Los Angeles to London via Bangor in Maine, so stocked up on homemade blueberry muffins at the airport in Maine and had those instead of paying for a meal on the plane.
Personally, I would be furious if I were sitting next to you in economy and a first-class meal arrived for you.
Being a food critic and expecting to get something else (that, presumably you had not paid for) would be most unfair to those around you. I think if you want to try first-class food you (or the newspaper) should pay to sit in first class.
I think you need to get real here – airline food is not notably good in general but serves a purpose and expecting more in steerage would mean higher prices for all. I am sure most of us who travel economy want prices kept low and, if we want a good meal, will have it before we leave or after we arrive.
And, if you really want the better meal, order the vegetarian option. Although not a vegetarian myself, I find those meals usually more substantial and palatable.