News in brief:
British Airways launches Flight Pass
Old British Midland flyers may remember that BMI let you buy a ‘carnet’ ticket which gave you 10 flights on a particular route for a discount – and occasionally came with free BMI status thrown in.
British Airways is now quietly trialling something similar. Via this OptionTown link, you can buy route passes for economy travel on flights from Heathrow and Gatwick. (If the link does not work, try ba.com/flightpass which will redirect.)
There are a huge number of pricing permutations based on how many people would share your pass, how many tickets you want, what expiry date you are willing to accept and how close to the date of travel you want to book. You can buy a pass for one route or for an entire country.
The most expensive option, ‘Freedom’, lets you book onto any service with an available seat up to four hours prior to departure.
Given the huge number of pricing options, it is impossible to say if this offers decent savings or not. I am not sure who the target market is for such a product in 2015, when anyone can book a last minute flight with a few clicks via their smartphone. Note that you can only book return flights with Flight Pass which means that it is less flexible than you may think – you may be able to book your outbound with just four hours notice but you need to lock in the return at the same time (changeable for a fee).
There is one interesting tweak. The basic Flight Pass books into L class which means you will earn 10 tier points per leg, which is 5 more tier points than you would receive from a standard discount economy flight. A ‘Freedom’ flight books into B class which earns 20 tier points each way.
If you are interested, the link is here.
British Airways drops fuel surcharges out of Brazil
It has been illegal for some time to add fuel surcharges to flights from Brazil. This did not bother BA, which was happy to put two fingers in its corporate ears and shout ‘nah nah nah, we’re not listening’ whilst taking your money with its remaining eight fingers.
Words appear to have been had. It is not clear if any fine or back payment has been made. It is also not clear if you can ask for compensation if you have recently booked or flown a redemption from Brazil.
In any event, you will now find that the taxes on British Airways Avios redemptions from Brazil are just £24 in any class.
It is now substantially cheaper to book Brazil redemptions as 2 x one-way tickets:
A Club World redemption to Sao Paulo from the UK, return, has £517 of tax
A Club World redemption to Sao Paulo booked as two one-ways has (£338 + £24 =) £362
The downside here is that, if you are using a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher, you need to book the former rather than the latter. This means you are paying an enforced extra surcharge of £310 for a couple.
At present, ba.com seems to be causing a pricing error if you try to book as it adds back the fuel surcharge on the payment page. avios.com is working OK so I recommend booking via an avios.com account.