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edi-traveller May 5, 03 4:40 pm

Regular C flyers - verdict on Bento boxes six months on?
About a year ago I was finally lured across to BD on UK Dom flights due to the constant reduction in BA meal service - the Deli bag, no more hot evening meals etc.

For a couple of months I was happy with BD C - especially as it was the same price as BA domestic C (albeit that BD is 3x2 as opposed to 3x3 on BA).

But then they introduced the bento boxes. And then they increased the fares so that the Full C fare is 160 as opposed to the BA Fare of 145. And although the BA service is still a lot less than it was, it is still served on china, and looks more like a meal than a picnic.

What is the verdict? Is the Bento a success or are travellers wondering what they are getting for their Business Class fare on BD (and do those convertible seats always work properly to give you your extra couple of inches width?)

Any BD insiders have an insight?

[This message has been edited by edi-traveller (edited 05-05-2003).]

small em May 5, 03 5:04 pm

I'm not a BD insider, but a cabin crew member recently told me bento boxes wouldn't be around much longer.

Wingnut May 5, 03 5:30 pm

That bloody box is a triumph of packaging over content and is what happens when you let bloody marketing departments get involved with catering.

StarAllianceGold May 5, 03 5:38 pm

I'm sure someone else on here said that the boxes would disappear soon.

I quite like them, though I still miss the "proper" breakfast on the early flights. My only real concern is the amount of waste created and the Krypton Factor style challenge of fitting all the rubbish back inside the box once I've finished my meal.

I've only flown once on BA in the past year (the bmi flight was full) and enjoyed the food on that flight.

As far as the seats go - I much prefer the 2x3 on bmi rather than the 3x3 on BA.

I think we may have lurkers here, but unfortunately no bmi insiders seem willing to post. Ajamieson seems to be the closest we have to the inside track.


Bond Boy May 5, 03 5:52 pm

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by small em:
I'm not a BD insider, but a cabin crew member recently told me bento boxes wouldn't be around much longer.</font>
This will be a shame as the hot bacon panini in the morning is great, as is the reasonably large bottle of OJ. I also like the little touch of fruit with the meal on the evening flights.

I simply cannot be bothered with the pretence of a meal on an hour long flight - this sort of service is great for me as it allows me the chance to "re-fuel" without taking time out.

The 2 x 3 seating is far better than on BA for width and I generally get a pick of the seats too so always get one. However, BA seem to have a couple more inches of pitch. Their seats are always more comfortable for me when not at an emergency exit or bulkhead.

Oh, bmi should keep the champagne though... those little bottles are very morish !

Wingnut May 5, 03 6:42 pm

OK, some slightly more constructive criticism than earlier...

All that packaging is distracting. You can't find stuff (how often have I witnessed an inexperienced early morning flier wolf down that panini - panino? - only then to discover the ketchup at the bottom of his box...). You end up with a table full of crap. The Krypton Factor jibe was harsh, but fair. It's just downright irritating. Make it go away.

Secondly, what people who have paid a frankly ludicrous amount of money for no discernible reason want is, yes you've guessed it, a discernible reason. And that's the food (yeah, so 1C is nice, but all those poor sods on the RHS don't even notice they've got an extra inch...).

To start with the breakfasts. I actually don't miss that full cooked thing. Everyone gets excited about it because it's a full cooked breakfast on a plane, but let's be honest: eggs just don't reheat. So the panini are good. I prefer the sausage one myself, although Bond Boy likes the bacon. Here's an idea - why not offer us a choice? Sausage, Bacon or veggy muck? Dammit, if we look hungry, why not come round after and offer us a second? What about someone going up and down with a basket of warm croissants and some bread and jam? Or the return of toast? Or maybe both?

I've never taken that many lunch flights, so onto dinner.

Serve the hot thing in a dish. Not a microwave tray. We notice things like this. BA may be utterly hopeless in every other respect, but at least they use china... Slices of apple in a plastic bag are the kind of thing that any self-respecting seven year-old would find insulting in his packed lunch. Get rid of them. Fruit salad, however, is acceptable. And you know what I miss most? Those nice little round Lindt chocolates to go with coffee. Mmmmm. They were nice. See what people want, you marketing gimps? A nice chocolate. Not a concept.

[This message has been edited by Wingnut (edited 05-05-2003).]

Wingnut May 5, 03 6:46 pm


[This message has been edited by Wingnut (edited 05-05-2003).]

kt74 May 6, 03 1:47 am

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by StarAllianceGold:
My only real concern is the amount of waste created and the Krypton Factor style challenge of fitting all the rubbish back inside the box once I've finished my meal.

As far as the seats go - I much prefer the 2x3 on bmi rather than the 3x3 on BA.
Agreed, and it's not just a Krypton Factor challenge to fit the rubbish back in, but the oblong shape also means you can't use the rest of the tray table for any other meaningful purpose while the box is in front of you (sliding into your lap). And, yes, please, a proper chocolate instead of Kit Kat - even a Ferrero Rocher would do...

As for all your 2x3 kudos, you obviously haven't travelled C on a full Fokker 100! It's an identical (and narrower-than-normal) seat to economy, the very same bar service, an identical sandwich (often with no choice either)... So remind me what the price premium is for? A mini Kit Kat and some grapes?!

woodie May 6, 03 4:41 am

I guess I would echo much of what has already been posted.

I have commented on this bento box catering in the past. The sooner they go the better.

Sausage or bacon panni? What happens when seated in row 5 and you have no choice? At least with the hot breakfast there was enough on the tray to eat something.

Fruit in a bag? enough said especially when trying to rread a document great move.
One space for a drink on the box lid. Wgat if I'm having coffee as well.

I have one dry cleaning bill already thanks to this idiotic idea.

The measure of the success or failure of the bento box is in the number of passengers now declining to have them. On an afternoon or evening flight I politely decline.

Seachain May 6, 03 7:18 am

My son is desperate that the bentos go away. every time i come back on an evening flight, he gets a bag of appley bits for his snack the next morning. The 8yr old visibly winces when he learns i'm out and back on BD again. He's not too impressed to learn that a chocolate bar was part of the line up either as he never sees it.

GoldCircle May 6, 03 8:16 am

Somebody somewhere's having a Toffee Crisp

Here's to the demise of the Bento box and the little set of instructions at the bottom of the box that you find afterwards, which explain how to open the box!

Wingnut May 6, 03 9:42 am

I do think it's a little hypocritical to complain about the "waste" in the packaging as if we cared about the environment in some way while we dash about the UK completing 400 mile journeys by jet engine...

samsp99 May 7, 03 1:31 am

I had the box lunch recently on shuttle flights from LHR to MAN. I was pretty impressed, it is better than the hot roll on BA in Y.

Considering I mostly fly on the West coast routes in the USA, where they only manage a drink on a 2hr flight, a meal on a 30min flight is great.

The box is kind of funky, and when the tray table is not flat, their lid come tray thing becomes a perfect lever for ensuring the drink is wobbled every time you touch the lid.

I would also have prefered something a bit more filling. I was still hungry after my chicken roll.

Take a tip from the BA and United Intl flights. The best thing about breakfast is the *warm* croissant - the stone cold ones in coach suck. I also like the scone and clotted cream for tea - its so british and kind of special.

ajamieson May 8, 03 9:03 pm

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">posted by StarAllianceGold:
Ajamieson seems to be the closest we have to the inside track.</font>
That bad, huh?

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">posted by wingnut: while we dash about the UK completing 400 mile journeys by jet engine... </font>
In some cases, wingnut, making several such journies in one day for no other purpose than to collect miles

As for the boxes, they don't bother me but I'm not especially impressed either. If they saved BD time or money I could at least understand the point of scrapping the meal trays but apparently the boxes cost even more, which begs the question: why bother?

Small peeve which someone else mentioned earlier...the sauce/salad dressing packets which are impossible to open and yet invariably end up down your tie after a lengthy struggle. And the mad youghurts with their cryptic bacterial straws which are meant to help the digestive system. Surely a hot meal would be better for my digestive system than a bunch of grapes, a cold sandwich and a pretentious yoghurt.

Most annoying of all, though, is that ridiculous cup-holder lid. It doesn't work, since the lid takes up pointless space and is too flimpsy to prevent drink being spilled everywhere and if you look around the cabin everyone puts their glass inside the box. The icing on the (chocolate) cake is that leaflet inside with instructions on how to open the box and infuriatingly smug nonsense:

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">This stylish new recyclable packaging is designed so that your food arrives fresh and secure every time. Unpack and the lid removes to form an ingenious tray with cup holder. A simple idea perhaps, but we believe that they are usually the best.</font>
I hate to disappoint Donnington Hall, but the 'ingenious' plastic lid is not exactly up there the invention of the wheel or the steam engine and these marketing people really need to get over themselves.

BigBadJohn May 9, 03 4:14 am

Have just travelled on BMI LBA_LHR and return and here my comments

1900 flight dwon from Leeds was for some reason on the A320. Bento box included Bag of Grapes, a carton of Greek Salad, i hate feta cheese and I hate Olives and a chocolate bar. Return flight on a F100 departure 0855 meal was a very nice large bottle of fresh squeezed OJ a yohgart with grains! and a sausage pannini.

I got to admit i prefer the old style diamond service with the scones and clotted cream and the hot breakfast on the morning flights.

However i think as buiness passengers we are been ripped off for the flights on the F100. BMI moved the 737 to BMIbaby and we got dumped with the old fashioned aircraft which is no better than economy.

I just wish i had a choice of carrier from Leeds to London as now GNER have improved the timetable and service from York and Leeds perhaps a business saver at 67 pounds is more value than 292 pounds i just paid for BMI especially if your meeting or business is in central London. Maybee GNER will start giving star alliance miles on rail tickets now there is wishfull thinking

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