Bits: Luxury Travel Diary auctions, join a class action against Ryanair

News in brief:

Luxury Travel Diary auctions

The Luxury Travel Diary site dropped me a line about another wave of its luxury auctions closing this week.  These are often worth a look as there are often deals to be had.

The UK focussed offers are here.  I also liked the look of this Four Seasons Marrakech package as the hotel is very well regarded, although that one runs into late June.  As usual, it is worth having a look to see if anything takes your fancy.


Flyers wanted to join a class action against Ryanair

CaseHub is a legal start-up which builds consumer ‘class actions’ online. It takes unfair practices to court, with the purpose of getting everyone who joins the lawsuit a payout as well as setting legal precedent to force industry practices to change.

The company see the airline industry as ripe targets, citing excessive administration fees, arduous cancellation penalties and abuses of fuel surcharges.  CaseHub intents to use a ‘group claim’ format to enable these disputes to be brought before the courts.

Perhaps not surprisingly, their first case is against Ryanair’s various fees for checking-in, boarding pass printing and name changes.  CaseHub is working with Joseph Dalby SC to bring a claim on behalf of anyone charged these fees in the last six years. If CaseHub wins, you would be able to reclaim any of these fees which you had paid to Ryanair over that period.

CaseHub is looking for 75,000 people who have flown Ryanair since 2011 and were charged one of firms more obscure fees.  You submit information about the fees you paid and assign the claim to the firm.  It operates on a ‘no win, no fee’ model which will cost you 35% of the value of your claim if successful.  If you are interested in signing up, the website is here.

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  1. I’m quite disappointed to see the Ryanair article here ….

    Ryanair’s business model is underpinned primarily by reduced costs – staff sitting at check in desks cost money, as do airport check-in machines. In order to reduce the number of check in desks and machines needed at airports, Ryanair make it abundantly clear that you must check-in for your flight before you get to the airport otherwise you will be charged a fee.

    Whilst I accept that the fee is not commensurate with the effort required to perform an airport check-in, it is designed to deter people from availing themselves of the airport check-in, and get them to do it themselves.

    If folks turn up at the airport and have to pay the fee, it’s not like they weren’t warned in advance. And it’s those fees that make it possible to get a single fare to faraway places for the price of a pub lunch!

    • Is there a reason why they charged travellers to print a BP at home?

      • They didn’t, afaik

        • Aeronaut says:

          I’ve got some notion that *in the past*, part of the fare structure was that the fare was broken down into various constituent parts including at one time a “web check-in fee”, though for a good many fares – or at least many of the cheaper ones – this was “free”.

          I think I’ve got that right, if so it was of course a total nonsense – just a way of somehow justifying the higher fares, and/or making you feel like you got even more of a bargain for the cheaper fares. However if there was a “web check-in fee” applied, it was not added later but was part of the flight as displayed at the first stage of searching (at least in more recent years).

          Thankfully Ryanair has now largely abandoned such silliness.

          • OK I dimly remember that, thanks for putting me right

          • I vaguely remember this too, and I think I paid it once, but I probably only paid a tenner for the ticket so I’m not going to lose sleep over it …. live and let live, Ryanair are evolving their model to be more customer friendly and there may come a time when I need to use them again, and I’d like them to still be in business when I do!

    • Stephen C says:

      Fully agree, you pay if you want to or can’t be bothered with the hassle of avoiding the charges. I have only had three issues with Ryanair:
      – Having to pay £8 extra for my wife (at the time girlfriend) to check in at the airport as online check-in wasn’t available for non-EU passports (they have since waived that fee, but it made a £2 flight into £10, 400% extra!)
      – Having to pay for seating as they potentially would sit my three-year-old in another part of the plane from me if I don’t
      – Scalding my arm last year by spilling a hot drink (not mine) and it was within two inches of my nine month old child. The stewardess was more concerned with getting on with selling than actually show any concern for my wellbeing and their complaints response was a joke
      They are actually a lot better to fly with now that I have PP with Amex Platinum, no more needing to pack my sandwiches to avoid onboard food costs :) Still more stressful than flying with a ‘normal’ airline, but also a lot cheaper.

      • CAA rules mean that kids under 12 MUST be seated with at least one parent or guardian. There is NO leeway on this. It is a safety requirement so that someone will look after the kid in an emergency.

        • Not true.

          The CAA regulations are that “Children and accompanying adults should not be separated by more than one aisle. Where this is not possible, children should be separated by no more than one seat row from accompanying adults.”

          • Interesting, thanks – I stand corrected!

            • Erico1875 says:

              We have never paid for seat selection but at check in,have always been assigned seats together with Ryanair.
              Flew tp Palma with Thomson last year,. 4 adults. we were sat together, yet families all around us were split up. We swapped seats to allow a family to sit together.

    • ‘the fee is not commensurate with the effort required to perform an airport check-in, it is designed to deter people from availing themselves of the airport check-in, and get them to do it themselves’

      Surely this is the point? Trade off between what is fair and what is effective as a deterrent: did Ryanair strike the right balance?

    • I am not actively encouraging people to sign it – it was more of a news item than anything else. I also understand that BA will be next on their list over surcharges.

  2. Thomas says:

    I do not like or fly Ryanair, but I agree with Stu R, These fees are not hidden at all. before you purchase a ticket you can see, read, and check what you are about to pay for. Ryanair is not clicking the “purchase” button for you! Blaming and claiming in UK gone mad. Reminded me of “did you have food poisoning abroad” adverts now popping up all over!!!!………

    • Erico1875 says:

      I get angry when i read about these “Ryanair rip off victims” Following the rules, we have had only experienced courtesy and efficiency.
      i hope this action fails.

      • Simon Fisher says:

        I hope it never gets off the ground. Its ridiculous. Everyone knows what they are getting when flying Ryan Air, nothing that you haven’t paid for. You choose to fly with them you get what you pay for.

    • I don’t think the transparency issue is the point here. Most of Ryanair’s fees are (now) stated on their website (albeit not always clearly). What may be unlawful are the fees themselves. Many low cost airlines manage to keep their fares low without charging their customers such outrageous fees (EasyJet, for example). The point is: those fees are probably not essential to Ryanair’s business model. The airline is one of the most profitable in Europe, if not THE most profitable.
      So it’s not really about people following the rules, but the rules are kind of ridiculous and people get charged for honest mistakes OR because of Ryanair: so many people complain about Ryanair’s website and app which apparently are total s*it and people so often can’t check in in time bc of those being down. Or, what if people just cannot print their boarding pass bc 1) not everyone has a printer handy.. 2) especially on vacation ?
      How about the name change fee of £100 for people who wrote a typo during booking?

      Most of you seem to think it’s easy to not get charged, however it’s really not that clear how much you pay for things. If you’re an avid Ryanair flyer, you probably know and are careful about everything, but if it’s your first time, you probably have no clue. You’d be surprised how many people have no idea…. Ryanair encourages people’s mistakes to make extra money.

      • Complete and utter rubbish. Ryanair have always displayed their fees (a deterant doesn’t work if you don’t know about it…) and you don’t need to be an avid flyer to understand them – you need to have very basic literacy.

        If you can’t locate a printer or have a smart phone for a mobile boarding pass then you shouldn’t be trusted abroad.

        • Seem to recall Ryanair only introduced an app with mobile boarding passes quite tecently. Only flown Ryanair twice, the hop from Birmingham to Dublin and back was efficient but that’s about all I can say. Wouldn’t choose to fly them for a longer flight

      • Erico1875 says:

        They dont charge 100 Euro for a typo. Its either free or at most, a tenner. A NAME CHANGE is different. It is to stop bulk buying and reselling of cheap fares.
        A lot of airlines wont even allow name changes. Its a new ticket completely.

  3. I have paid some fees on Ryanair but as the fees were all explained at the time of booking surely it was my choice? I hate that we now think it is acceptable to sue just because we don’t like the decision we made. No one is forced to fly Ryanair, if you don’t like the business model don’t use it.

  4. Ryanair is not my kind of airline either, however the low fares come at a cost and you have to play by the rules, if you do no issues if you don’t it will cost you dearly! Cheap car rental companies work the same way.

  5. I wonder if case hub will help us start a class action against all these law firms that are ruining many business models with all their litigation. Because like it or not if we carry on down this road it will change the way these business work and that will disadvantage those who use them – destroying businesses that are successful by responding to consumer demand for short term selfishness and greed – surely that is worth taking to court.

    • Easyjet responds to consumer demand in the same way without imposing ridiculous rules. Most of Ryanair’s fees do NOT hold up and are outrageous. I think if this action is successful it’d be a good incentive for them to stop charging those fees without having to increase their fares. Every other low cost airline does it. Ryanair is already saving on every little penny to make a greater margin and are disrespectful of customers. Surely people see that?

      • Ryanair are only ‘disrespectful’ to idiots, so I doubt you’re going to get much sympathy.

        What do their fees not ‘hold up’ to? Reasonableness? In which case I’m doing to sue Waitrose – they’re more expensive than Aldi and that’s outrageous. I’ve never seen a law that says fees aren’t allowed to be outrageous, so I’d be interested to see on what basis they could possibly be sued.

        • Consumer Rights Act 2005.

          From Wikipedia: The definition of an ‘unfair term’ remains the same as that originally outlined in the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977; i.e. a term is unfair if, “contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations under the contract to the detriment of the consumer.”

          Charging £60 to reprint a lost boarding pass would clearly fall under that.

          • Evidently it doesn’t clearly fall under that as they’ve been doing it unchallenged for years…

            • You can same about PPI etc. Grief, I – via my old job – nearly bought CPP at one point. A couple of years ago you would have told me that CPP (selling you insurance for your credit cards which you didn’t need because the law gave you almost identical cover for free via your card issuer) was OK as well, and now they are fundamentally bust.

              Airlines had been ripping people off over EU261 for years as well, until Jet2 foolishly decided to challenge Mr Huzar in court.

              UK law is case law, as you know. The law sets out broad principles which judges then interpret based on a combination of previous precedent and the law itself. You can therefore get away with something for a long time because the law does not set out, in exact words, that such an act is not allowed. You get a vague phrase which is required to go before a judge to be tested. And who is going to bring that case? Not one solitary individual who paid Ryanair £60 to get a lost boarding pass reprinted. If they won’t do it, you are down to the OFT and they have enough problems to deal with.

            • Callum says:

              How can it be “clear cut” if the law doesn’t actually say what you’re saying it does, and you instead need a judge to interpret it for you?

  6. Certainly looks like CaseHub has been busy – this was the headline just a few days ago

    • And they are correct. When I have cancelled flights in India for example I have had the taxes refunded. I just don’t understand why BA doesn’t do it. Why isn’t this law?

      • Lady London says:

        It is the law, actually.

        You are fully entitled to write in and demand your taxes back on any cancelled booking.

        However you might notice two things :-
        (1) the actual amount of government- and airport- taxes you get back, will be surprisingly considerably lower than what BA might have told you was “taxes” or similar, if indeed they told you at all.

        (2) I believe the airline can deduct some sort of admin fee and believe they will.

        Go for it, I would.

  7. not a fan of this action against Ryanair, it’s a budget airline and you get what you pay for…

    The fees are far too high, but they are clear… back in the day i paid 1pence to get to Dublin from Leeds… with fares so low… this is why change fees are so high

  8. Its a simple matter of whether charges are fairly disclosed or not and whether they are exploitative or not. The key point is that their business model relies on the headline charge pulling you in and yet this is unfair as it does not fairly disclose significant charges that most people subsequently pay. Historically Ryanair did their best to hide the charges even when it was very clear what the legislative intent was – a classic example being the need to include credit/debit card fees in the upfront price. They included the fees for an obscure card no one had and said the rest was extra in a clear ‘two fingers’ to the regulatory bodies.

    I wholly support any action which encourages airlines or any other business to treat its customers fairly.

    • Frenske says:


      Using headline grabbing ticket prices forces competition e.g. BA to change their business model too. Already food/drink offering is stripped back to bare minimum.

      • Lady London says:

        Why should anyone be fed on a plane especially short haul?

        How did it develop that airlines are expected to wine and dine people? I can understand making water available as a health matter, I can understand some provision on long haul flights and perhaps on medium haul. But since when did it become an obligation for airlines to feed people?

        • No entitlement but it IS a way to differentiate product offering.

          I always see snack £3, 3 beers £7.50, checked suitcase £20, T-24 seat selection £10 as helping make my mind up – there’s £40.50 of value there vs LCCs.

          Not that I would always pay them if I were travelling LCC, but I do like to pat myself on the back as I’m sure you’re aware :)

        • I sat on the tarmac for half an hour at Schipol once waiting to take of for Leeds Bradford., after missing my original flight due to a delay in Calcutta. All the passengers just wanted to take off and get home, but we couldn’t leave because the sandwiches hadn’t arrived. A clear case of “there are no more lemon soaked paper napkins”. When the sandwiches finally arrived and we managed to take off, most people declined the inflight refreshments.

    • But Virgin do not include their 1.5% credit card fee in their upfront prices so does that mean they should be subject to a class action suit as well?

      I have flown quite a few times with Ryanair over the years and have never once had to pay a fee that was ‘hidden’. No fee has ever appeared on my bill after I’ve clicked the confirm order button that wasn’t already in the summary box that I didn’t already know about.

      As others have said, if you play by their rules (as no one is forcing you to fly with them) then it works out very well and very cheap.
      Ridiculous litigation.

  9. zsalya says:

    I generally agree that customers should not complain about fees which are clearly accessible up front.

    However, I have just returned from my first Ryanair flight for some years.
    I booked “Business Plus” to compare it to Easyjet’s Flexi tickets which work very well.
    Their Ts & Cs state: “a route change of all flights in a booking can be made online” , “any flight changes (date/flight/route) made before the day of travel will not be charge a flight change fee”
    and “With Business Plus…fast track…. BGY”
    None were true.
    I will make a claim (by snailmail) for the extra fee but I won’t be holding my breath.

  10. Matthew says:

    Ryanair have vastly improved over the last few years and there online chat is absolutely brilliant. No waiting for emails or premium rate number. I recently had a problem regarding the flights I booked for my sis. She had developed an illness and instead of claiming on insurance I thought I maybe able to change the date for perhaps a nominal fee. So a quick message on the chat and within about 60 secs I had been given the link for a full refund. Simples. No need for insurance. Doubt BA would have done that….

  11. Ryanair are better than they were, but that doesn’t mean that they haven’t been poor before. I do remember being aggrieved that my partner and I were charged ~£45 for overweight hand luggage, when if we had checked in separately (and had realised that there was a charge), then we would have just redistributed the stuff between two bags better rather than having to do a bag check in at the airport.

    I also disagree that this article doesn’t belong here – these days BA short haul service is shockingly bad (as is their customer service back home) -so those of us in the leisure short haul market will take advantage of whichever flight actually works out best for us. I just did 3 1/2 hours on a BA flight HUNGRY because they ran out of food. I wouldn’t have had that on Ryanair, I could have at least bought something!

    • You were unaware that there are limits to how much stuff you can take on the plane?

      And you certainly could have redistributed your stuff between you, I don’t believe for a second they forbade you from doing so, unless you were the last people boarding (in which case – your fault)?

      • You are so charming, Callum – always! How do you manage it? :))

        • With great ease? If people are reasonable, I’m reasonable. If they’re not, I’m not.

          • Callum, you’re just being daft.
            Ryanair today, is a far better company and flight experience, than it was a few years -that does not mean however claims can’t be made against their previously shoddy behaviour.

            So many industries have ripped off the public for years with impunity – as a consumer you should support such actions…

            I still believe today that if you cancel a flight -you should be refunded every cent you paid, except for the base fare….

            • Callum says:

              If you’re going to start throwing insults around it would be nice if you bothered to read the post properly… I’ve never stated (or even hinted) you cannot complain about “previous shoddy behaviour” – not that this seems to be about previous behaviour, it’s about current behaviour too.

              I can support whatever actions I want. If Ryanair was the only airline I’d fully agree and I’d want their practises heavily regulated. As no-one is forced to use them, I however don’t have any issue with them “ripping people off” – assuming you mean charge people exactly what they agreed to pay, even if it’s extortionate. I also have no issue with Waitrose charging ridiculous prices, I merely don’t shop there.

              While I’d have no qualms if a law was made forcing taxes to be refundable without charge, there isn’t such a law, so I’m not too bothered by Ryanair/BA etc. adding in admin fees (after all – you have cost them money both in processing the original purchase and then in refunding it, though again it could be seen as extortionate).

            • Erico1875 says:

              Whats shoddy about flying to Dublin for a penny, Dusseldorf (Weeze) Paris (Beauvais) and Costa Brava for a fiver? I did that regularly. Never any hassle. I onve had to pay 25 EURO overweight luggage., but my luggage was 5 kilo over the stated limit – 6 bottles (not so)cheap vodka

  12. Rumours abound that in Europe, food on BA will become chargeable, at least in ET.

    No problem with that, as long as they don’t include booze.

    • Crew have told me this is coming in September (not that they officially know). I would also be OK with it because the current situation is a joke. However, with no extra cabin crew it is unlikely that all pax would be served on shorter flights ….

      • Haha yes I have just seen this – perhaps they actually did read my complaint after all!!

      • It does somewhat shift the dynamics in the thinking process about whether to actually buy lounge passes (for those of us without an alternative! which includes myself at times…)

        It’s approximately £12.50 to get into No1 T3 if you discount the £20 by 750 Avios.

        For £12.50 I get unlimited booze and a decent snack, plus all the other advantages of a lounge.

        Whereas I reckon you’d be lucky to get away with a sandwich & 2 beers on board for less than £12.50.

        Easy alternative being the snack meal from Boots or WHSmith (no booze, though).

        And No1 have their generous distribution of unattended cold drinks fridges throughout the lounge. So a nasty old parent might make the kids wait with the rabble outside, knock back the beers, grab a few extra cans for them from No1 plus sort them out with apples & either home or shop sandwiches on board – not bad for £12.50 plus the meal deals!

        • Reminds me of when as a kid you weren’t allowed into the pub, so had to sit outside in the car park with a soft drink whilst the adults were sat inside. Standards have risen!

          • Unless you’re an evil child hater and just want a quiet drink in the pub!

      • Scallder says:

        I presume that this will only apply for flights purchased after September, given that BA flights already purchased have been sold with complimentary food and beverages as an advertised selling points? My wife and I have got RFS flights out t Athens and back from Santorini in September, and would not be happy to suddenly find hat the flights (and relevant service levels) that were advertise at the time suddenly get withdrawn…

        • Interesting thought – although I fear it will apply to all come whichever date this is implemented. I can’t imagine a situation where cabin crew were charging some pax and not others, based on time of booking?

          • Good point. But T-355 rule means it’s just an easy change to manage on a single day in the future. (No tickets being sold more than 355 days in advance.)

            As I mention below, I think it will lead to reduction in cabin crew as they’ll have much less to do.

  13. The one fee that Ryanair do hide away is the Dynamic Currency Conversion charge. If you buy a Ryanair ticket starting overseas, the price is quoted in the local currency. There is a small check box somewhere in the booking process to say that you want to be billed in the local currency, if you miss that, then Ryanair add a DCC surcharge and bill you in pounds – at least a 3% surcharge compared to paying with Lloyds Amex with no currency surcharge.

    Signing up for the class action could net me 6 or 7 quid , which is not enough to get me reaching for a pen.

    • Genghis says:

      And many other companies charge DCC fees as we’ve previously discussed on HfP. Always paying in local currency (as many people know) is the cheapest way.

  14. Oyster says:

    Some interesting comments here but I am surprised that so many people think that by informing of a fee up-front it somehow makes it acceptable.

    It also needs to be fair, reasonable and accessible. And cannot be a ‘penalty’ charge.

  15. Alex W says:

    I once checked in online for Ryanair but had no access to a printer. Charging about £40 to print a boarding pass is absurd, and is an attack on those who are used to downloading in an app (and it’s a waste of paper). If I can find proof of payment I think I’ll jump on the bandwagon.

    • If only they told you several times that you had to print it out…

      And you really had no way of finding a printer in the week before your flight? Anywhere? I find that find that difficult to believe!

      • Frenske says:

        £40 is still absurd. Ryanair probably can pay 3 persons to sit for an hour at the check-in for that kind of money.

        • Callum says:

          I assume they have to pay some kind of “rent” to use the desks too? Though I’d imagine baggage fees would subsidise it somewhat.

  16. Ryanair have improved a lot recently, reasonable credit card fees, auto seat allocation and a much better cabin interior colour on the new planes to name but a few.

    Credit card fees were extortionate prior to the EU clampdown – just goes to show they need a push sometimes.

    Can’t wait for fuel surcharges on BA to get challenged.

  17. Folk saying they have no case due to fees being published upfront, etc. – the same was true of banking fees, but the OFT brought a case against the banks as they considered the charges to be unfair, irrespective of the fact customers were made aware of them. As it happened, the case ultimately went the banks’ way, but it did bring about behavioral changes, e.g. unauthorised overdraft charges now average £10 whereas they used to be more like £40.

  18. The Casehub thing certainly looks like money farming for lawyers – on the Ryanair one it looks as if they stand to bring in a couple of million Euro.

    ON the BA one they are working with a Consumer Campaign called Fair Finance that seems to be incorporated as a Limited Liability Partnership, which offers consultancy services to companies wanting ‘simple’ T&Cs. Not at all transparent, and asking for a Despatches investigation.

  19. Lady London says:

    I believe Ryanair employ a raft of very good (and very busy!) lawyers.

    I’ll really enjoy watching this, and wouldn’t bet Ryanair wouldn’t win.

    They have treated me abominably, illegal and immorally in the past and I refuse to set foot on a plane of their again. If I had to go to Ireland and they were the last airline left standing, I’d sooner swim than fly them.

  20. Game Theory suggests we are an inherent greedy animal.

    So fly Ryan “pants” Air for 3 goats and a farthing and induce stressful flying, sitting next to a bevvied muppet with a squeaky voice. Or spend a bit more and reduce the risk. Its how much you want that deal, if you consider it that.

  21. Wally1976 says:

    Oh right, thanks Rob. They were rubbish payers anyway!

  22. Yep. By my reckoning you can also get:

    – 2 AAdvantage miles per US $1 spent at Hilton hotels through the American Airlines AAdvantage eShopping Portal; and

    – 6 Virgin Flying Club miles per £1 spent at Hilton hotels through the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Portal, Shops Away.

  23. Going back to food on BA

    I think cutting free food on short haul should get the cabin crew worried. Not because they’ll actually have to sell up & handle the orders & money.

    But because the right strategy would be to go upmarket a bit, ie RA/ EJ +25% on food prices, the passengers get a better offering but have to pay for it. It immediately cuts out demand as people realise you don’t need to eat on a 2 hour journey if it’s expensive – or simply bring your own from home – or the WHS/ Boots meal deal airside.

    Nice opportunity to cut out another member of cabin crew, BA are overstaffed compared to the LCCs.

    Unfortunately I can’t see free booze continuing.

    • Long haul?

      ‘Cruz’s boss, Willie Walsh, the chief executive of IAG, recently told the Guardian that he was an admirer of low-cost, long-haul operator Norwegian, which charges transatlantic passengers £28 for a pre-ordered meal service or £10-11 for fresh food from the trolley. “There appears to be consumer acceptance of that … that if you want a meal on a long-haul flight, you’re going to have to pay for it. We’ll see what happens.” ‘

      • Been reading some newspaper comments, this one’s a corker! :)

        NeilPeel 20m ago
        I’ve got almost 50k airmiles and have been trying to use them for 3 years. I’ve never been able to spend them when I wanted to – and they run out at the end of this year..
        Pathetic, BA…

        • Genghis says:

          How sad :) Tell him to stay up until 12am at T-355 and to make a purchase on Gate 365…

    • BA is understaffed. Easy has 4, BA 3 – of which 1 is CW.

      • Not on our Euro route, I guess you need the aircraft type, I will try & get it on 27th or can I find it on my booking somehow? Not my forte nor my interest but it’s definitely 4 cabin crew minimum, 1 for CW, 3 for ET.

        Maybe max 6 x 30 = 180 pax give or take 12, obv fewer as CW is max 4 in a row


    Are fares now the only difference between BA and Ryanair?
    While British Airways insists that news it will start charging for in-flight meals is just speculation, it has stopped short of an outright denial.

    The move, should it transpire, will come as little suprise, given that the airline has long been making plays for the passengers of EasyJet or Ryanair, the giants of the low-cost air travel game.

    Introducing, presumably, a reduced-price ticket, with the option of purchasing a meal on-board, rather than a more expensive ticket with complimentary food, is just the next logical step in BA’s battle against budget carriers that have taken as much as 40 per cent of the European short-haul market.
    Only last month, Telegraph Travel reported that it was streamlining its six existing ticket options down to three – Basic, Plus and Plus Flex – with the former offering the cheapest fare and not including checked luggage, changes to flights or pre-selected seating.

    BA first announced its “no-frills” fares in 2013, trialling hand luggage-only tickets on eight short-haul destinations from Heathrow, expanding it to 32 routes only a month later. At the time, it was recognised as the beginning of BA’s struggle to claw back business from the budget airlines, who offer low headline fares, with extras such as hold luggage and seat selection offered at an additional cost.

    In February this year, the airline announced its first ever scheduled flight from Stansted (due to fly at the end of this month), taking its number of UK bases to four. The Essex airport is more commonly associated with routes to popular summer destinations such as Palma and Ibiza operated by low-cost carriers. It was seen as the first time BA had chosen to go to head to head with the budget airlines on their home turf.
    The low-cost, long-haul revolution has begun, especially on routes across the Atlantic, championed by the likes of WOW Air and Norwegian, providing another reason for BA to attempt to shore up its appeal to travellers whose chief concern is cost.

    Nick Trend, Telegraph Travel’s consumer expert, has long foreseen the steady erosion of the distinction between traditional airlines and their no-frills rivals, noting not just how BA has become “meaner” but also that Easyjet and Ryanair, the latter especially, have become “nicer”.

    “The decision to start charging food has eradicated the last substantive different between BA and its low-cost rivals,” he said.
    “The likes of Easyjet and Ryanair have moved to appeal to more business travellers, introducing priority boarding, flexible fares and extra-legroom seats, while BaA now offers lower fares for hand-baggage only and charges for meals.

    “Will BA succeed with this strategy? Possibly, but only if its fares are competitive enough to attract passengers away from the budget airlines.”

    So how do the fares compare?

    Taking a glance at, say, London to Edinburgh, a popular short-haul route, especially with business travellers, flying this time next month, Ryanair will get you there and back from £47 (the usual no hold luggage etc, from and to Stansted), Easyjet is from £58 (flying out of Stansted and back into Gatwick), whereas flights with BA will set you back from £91, in and out of Gatwick, with complimentary drinks and snacks, but checked baggage and a chosen seat at additional cost.

    What about Prague?

    Ryanair offers the cheapest price, from £103, flying in and out of Stansted, while Easyjet offers £128 in and out of the same airport. British Airways charges from £220, in and out of Heathrow, with complimentary snacks, but an additional charge for checked luggage and seat collection.

    And Palma, gateway to Majorca?

    EasyJet offers the cheapest, at £163, while Ryanair is not far behind at £185. British Airways, meanwhile, offers tickets starting from £262, with drinks and snacks, but no luggage or chosen seat.

    It is important to remember the art of comparing air fares is a complex one.

  25. Had the first of my Flash Sale bookings from a couple of months ago pay out – much to my surprise they correctly uplifted it to the advertised percentage!!