Afternoon tea is a tradition that originated in England in the 19th century. Formal afternoon tea is available in upmarket hotels and features sandwiches, cakes, scones and of course tea. British Airways serve afternoon tea on European flights departing between 2pm and 5pm and it is also the second service in Club World on transatlantic flights to the USA.

Frequent flyers are divided on the British Airways European afternoon tea service, so let’s have a look at what an airline based in England serves up.

BA830 – London Heathrow to Dublin (LHR-DUB)
26 June 2016
Airbus A320-200 G-EUPG
Seat: Club Europe 1A
Departure: 14:10 Arrival: 15:35

Club Europe is the European business class product at British Airways and your ticket offers you lounge access, priority boarding, extra baggage, a meal service and a seat with the middle seat free. The front of the cabin features the Speedmarque on the left bulkhead and Row 1 has more leg room and importantly more face room.

All the seats on board have the same pitch meaning business class passengers don’t get any extra leg room. I choose row 1 because you really notice the difference at face level. The free middle seat features an elegant tray.

Once everyone is on board, the safety demonstration plays on flip down screens and once done it’s time to fly!

Afternoon Tea, Darling

The first order of business is a hot towel for refreshing your face and hands. The towels are fairly thin and they make them hot by pouring boiling water over them.

Cabin Crew work fast on a short sector like this, with 55 minutes aloft there is no time to waste. The trolley trundles down the aisle and you are presented with your tray. This features a cake, finger sandwiches, a mug, cream, jam, a serviette and utensils.

Sandwiches have different fillings such as cucumber, Coronation Chicken and these vary from time to time. You may notice two scones hiding in the mug. These are served from a basket and I always take two because, as I mentioned, there is no time to waste. Castelnau Champagne is served on board.

My habit is to eat items in order of least liked to what I like most. The cake is always first thing I eat as it is quite dense and I like to get it out of the way. This is followed by the sandwiches and then it’s scones o’clock!

Scones with jam and cream at 33,000 feet accompanied by Champagne is truly a time to be savoured. Scones are warm and delicious, the bubbles tickle your throat – it’s perfect relaxation.

Cloud Dodging

Flip down screens display the moving map along with your altitude, speed and time to destination. This is handy for monitoring how much scone eating time you have remaining.

When it is 10 minutes to landing, the crew have to secure the cabin and collect any service items from passengers.

If you have Champagne left, the crew will offer you a plastic tumbler to decant your drink into so you can hold on to it while landing. It’s always nice sipping on bubbles as you land.

Once on the ground, the experience is over and it’s time to get back to real life.

Overall Thoughts

Afternoon tea flights are my favourite ones on British Airways. I actively choose the services between 2pm and 5pm as often as I can so I can enjoy this meal. There is truly nothing wrong with the concept or the execution. I have found on recent flights that the sandwiches are a little dry and starting to go stale, so that is something to take note of, British Airways. Warm scones, jam, cream, nice Champagne – what’s not to love?

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