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BA launches ‘no suitcase’ fares from Gatwick – first step to a low-cost model?

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For some time, there has a been a view that – in a continued attempt to make BA’s Gatwick operation profitable – it would move towards more of an easyJet approach to life.

Gatwick already has ‘self bag tag’ machines, where you need to print your own baggage tag before taking it to the desk.

And now …

British Airways has launched ‘hand baggage only’ fares from Gatwick. Initially, they are only available on the Amsterdam, Dubrovnok, Jersey, Tunis and Turin flights, from February 26th. Other routes will follow later.

Hand-baggage will remain free.

The discount is £10-£11 each way. Does this really reflect BA’s costs for handling a case? And is this even a real discount, or have the fares with a case actually been bumped up by £10-£11?

What is not clear is the position of Gold and equivalent oneworld status card holders, who theoretically get an extra free item of checked baggage. Does this mean you can book one of these fares and still check a suitcase? This does not seem to have been fully thought through.

Given that Heathrow will not be adopting this policy, it could all go horribly wrong. Let’s see.

Ironically, the one bit of the low cost model I would like to see BA bring in – buy on board food – has not happened. Frankly, given the choice, I would rather pay for something from an easyJet style food menu than be given a free cup of tea and a ‘savoury snack’ with no option of getting anything better ….

Comments (20)

  • Sean says:

    What happens if a couple want to take one bag? I suppose they would have to book separately?

    • Raffles says:

      … Which would be a mess if only 1 had BA status, because you couldn’t select seats for both people if on separate bookings!

    • Blackberryaddict says:

      book both with hand luggage only , and add a bag separately in MMB. Or if that is more expensive, just stick to the original, normal fare.

  • Thunderbirds says:

    I think you are confusing the underlying requirement with how BA have implemented it via their web-site. You should be able to book two pasengers on one booking with different ticket specifications. Just like on Parador hotels web-site where you can book multiple rooms of different types on one booking. As someone who flies 90% of the time with hand luggage only this would be better. If only they would enforce their hand baggage regulations!

  • Dark Horse says:

    Here’s a funny thing though: pricing up my usual LGW-JER routine has usually cost around £75 return (ET with about two-months notice). Now it comes in at £69. They’ve saved money, sure, but not £10 worth.

    Curiously, the money saved hasn’t come off the underlying price, which is still £4 each way. And it can’t come off the taxes, obviously. Which only leaves the fuel-surcharge.

    Draw your own conclusions from that.

    • Blackberryaddict says:

      I guess the bags weigh so much that not taking them reduces the fuel surcharge 😉