It is rare that an airline reinstates complimentary amenities for passengers, especially those behind the curtain. Yet British Midland International (bmi) plans to bring reintroduce hot food to premium economy and economy classes starting August 17th:
Customers travelling with bmi, will now enjoy even more tasty treats inflight with the introduction of freshly made cakes on board UK, Ireland and Hanover flights for Flexible Economy customers. We will also introduce complimentary hot food in Economy Class on European flights – the only scheduled airline to offer this service.
Slices of hand made cakes including victoria sponge, lemon drizzle and carrot cake will be served on all UK, Ireland and Hanover flights departing between 10am–12pm and between 1.30-5pm, to customers travelling in Flexible Economy. Complimentary hot food will be served at all other times. Hot breakfast wraps will be served on flights departing before 10am, with tasty hot wraps then served on flights departing between 12-1.30pm and from 5pm onwards.
Economy Class customers on bmi’s European and Morocco flights will also now receive complimentary hot food throughout the day. A hot breakfast wrap will be served on all morning flights departing before 10am, with a hot wrap service offered on subsequent flights. Complimentary hot and cold drinks will continue to be served.
It is no coincidence that this meal improvement comes as Lufthansa’s LSG Sky Chefs division takes over bmi’s catering contract. What surprises me a bit is why bmi is outdoing their parent company Lufthansa in the realm of inflight meals (see also Ben’s bmi business class meal from Berlin to London). The two carriers do not compete head-to-head on any routes, but I just find it a bit odd that bmi would serve anything other than Lufthana’s packaged sandwiches or pastries on European flights to economy class passengers. British Midland boasts they will be the only European carrier to offer hot food in all cabins on European flights but the questions then is “so what?” I doubt anyone is going to book with bmi just because their sandwich is hot instead of cold. Does that not make this initiative a waste of money?
But don’t take that to mean I am against this catering upgrade. Ask anyone who flies bmi regularly and they will tell you that the inflight soft product, particularly the catering, has deteriorated quite a bit over the past couple years. This news appears to be bmi’s first step toward restoring the quality and integrity of their product. Though small, this change is welcomed.
This is an amazing step in the right direction. While you say that it, alone, would not be a reason people would book BMI over another airline, I, for one, would disagree. All else being equal, or perhaps close to equal, I would undoubtedly choose BMI over another airline after this change. I hope (but doubt) more airlines follow BMI’s lead.