BA Club Europe revolution – cheap one-way tickets, no ‘Saturday night’ rule and free same day changes

With no fanfare so far, it seems that British Airways has finally decided to bite the bullet.  Club Europe tickets are now available at sensible prices on many routes without the need to buy a return or stay for a Saturday night.

Here is an example.  A one-way to Hamburg next Tuesday comes in at £190 for the prime 07.10 departure (click to enlarge):

Hamburg price

and here is a return day trip:

Hamburg day trip

You would historically have been looking at £600+ for such a flight, I think.

These tickets also now come with some flexibility. 

Time/date changes permitted at any time before each flight departure for a change fee of £100 or an upgrade fee of £100 plus any difference in fare. Free changes on the day of departure provided changes are for same date/cabin/route/airport. Changes subject to availability. Fees apply per ticket.

The downside is that these tickets book into the ‘I’ ticket bucket and there isn’t much of that around at short notice.  However, as long as you can get the fare on one flight on the day you want, making that free change to a more convenient service should be possible.

If you can book further ahead than a few days, these prices are easy to find.  Looking for a return flight to Hamburg for mid September, I can get the £305 fare on the majority of flights.

Is this a smart move by British Airways or not?  The airline is clearly going to lose some revenue from companies who would book Club Europe for their employees irrespective of cost. There are still plenty of those around, in the City hedge fund and private equity boutiques at least.

On the other hand, the gap between Club Europe and Euro Traveller is now a lot smaller.  In the Hamburg example above for next Tuesday, Euro Traveller is £181.  The Club Europe premium is ‘only’ £124.

If that becomes the typical gap, then some companies will decide that it is worth paying.  Getting their employees lounge access, fast track and free food and drink will be seen as a good use of an additional, in this case, £62 each way.

Some passengers may also decide that it is worth paying the extra themselves in order to pick up 80 tier points and additional Avios.

It remains to be seen if this is just a trial or the start of the long-awaited adjustment of Club Europe pricing to commercial reality.  I am feeling positive though.

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  1. Grant Blackshire says:

    It’s an interesting one.

    Personally, as a family of 5 and without status, the premium on that price is something I would jump at.
    More space for the kids stuff, extra baggage we’ll inevitably need and lounge access to calmly find somewhere to get ourselves organised.
    For us it is a bit of a steal – especially if the crew are happy to remove the middle seat block so we can let the little ones veg out a bit.

  2. Klaus-Peter Dudas says:

    This is such welcome news for me. I am happy to spend a few pounds (<£100) for CE for the TPs, often front row seats and having a few drinks on the flight. In the past I've had to weigh up the choice of flexibility of same-day change versus the extra TPs and front row seats. Do we know what happens when one POUGs a Plus fare to CE?

  3. rams1981 says:

    OT grain store at Gatwick. Do they check the names on the priority passes?

  4. Anna Tomlinson says:

    Welcome news, but I’m waiting for them to stop charging for paying by credit card – if I’m paying £000s for a long haul premium ticket the charge for using a credit card is outrageous. Same goes for the charge for booking a seat I flew Qatar to Aus in January and no extra charges. When a friend and I flew to NYC a couple of years ago on BA Club world we were asked to pay hundreds to guarantee seats together. Not on!

    • ‘Accidentally’ select Ukraine as your country of residence instead of UK. Works every time. No fees

      • Jonathan says:

        Unless you can’t be logged in with your BA account, this didn’t work last time I tried it. UK was entered and greyed out.

  5. OT1: Airberlin insolvent …appears to be continuing to operate, in talks with Lufthansa and German government.

    OT2: Can anyone please advise where to stay in Las Vegas? ( I will also search Rob’s article from his last trip to refresh memory). Checking out Marriott’s to use SPG points. Ideas welcome

    • Assuming you want to gamble it has to be the main strip and if possible, particularly in the summer heat, hotels on or adjacent to a monorail stop. In the middle of summer you do not want to be walking up and down the strip in the sun. As an alternative to the strip there is the Freemont Street area which has older hotels and Casinos.

      Not been for 9 years but from what I remmber

      Circus Circus – Often cheap but with a large number of younger guests
      Venetian / Bellagio / Harrahs – right in the centre of things, Gamblers paradise
      MGM Grand – Massive Hotel, Everything under one roof

      • I was there last week and highly recommend the Cosmopolitan, especially if you have Marriott status (VIP check-in, free upgrade, and most importantly queue jump for the dinner and/or breakfast buffet). Definitely request a room overlooking the Bellagio fountains, and you’ll have the best view in Vegas. Plus very cool hotel, in the middle of everything, great casino, one of best buffets in Vegas….

      • Sebastian says:

        It depends on what you want. Personally I am not a fan of the super casinos – MGM, Bellagio, Venetian, CP, etc – as I find they are absolute zoo’s with people coming at you from all angles. As a result, my favourites are the Tropicana and the Cromwell as these are still in good locations but not absolutely rammo. Now do not get me wrong the Trop and Cromwell do not offer as great a hard product but if you want to relax (as much as you can in Vegas) these two allow you to whilst still allowing you to be on/on the very edge of the strip.

    • Ooooh crap. Got 2 redemptions (AirBerlin TopBonus, not Avios) in biz to Curacao with them in November.
      Hopefully they’re still flying by then !

    • Hi Marriott Grand Chateux is in a grest location . Not stayed there myself but if its up to usual Marriott should be good. Just off strip almost opposite cosmopolitan. I have stayed at MGM signature apartments previousely which is just behind it so a tad further away. We are thinking of staying here on our next visit. We have discounted other Marriott properties because of location. Not researched SPG properties so cant comment. Feel free to private message me if you want advise on location of any properties. Ive stayed in LV about a dozen times in last 20 years

    • I’ve been to Vegas a number of times, and returned from a weekend trip the week before last (a 10 flighter which started as a TP run, but turned out not to be needed). Previously I’ve always stayed on the Strip, but this time decided to stay Downtown, and very much enjoyed the whole Fremont Street experience and surrounding bars/restaurants. It felt a lot more vibrant than the Strip. We fitted in 2 day excursions for the Saturday/Sunday though, which took us out of town.

  6. If you take Rob’s Hamburg example the blocked out middle seat in CE ‘costs’ £57. Previously the cost of a spare seat would be based on the price you paid for your seat. So has this move meant the price of the extra seats has now gone up? (math isn’t my forte….).

    Rob’s piece on spare BA seats:

  7. These fares have been around forever. For years I flew LGW/LHR-FCO regularly in discounted Club (I Class) and often paid 200-250 quid return, even around busy times like Xmas (with a 2-month advance purchase). They work in the other direction as well. BA has had a FCO-LGW return fare in I fixed at EUR 283 for months, while FCO-LHR rtn is normally around EUR 310-350. Availability can be scarce at short notice but generally widely available a few weeks in advance.

    • Did you actually read the article? The whole point would be that you could now book at these kinds of prices for singles, and also get the fares you mention without a Saturday night stay.
      There’s always been cheap CE fares knocking around – BGO, LUX, and lots of LGW destinations – but they’ve often been sale fares and/or quite restricted.

  8. hotaeke says:

    OT: Last week I did FAO – LHR on a BA A320 with the new configuration and the CE section was the biggest I’ve ever seen going up to row 13. Almost looked like half of the plane was CE. Have you ever seen a longer CE section?

    • I frequently saw configure of 40 plus CE in the early 90s. ZRH and GVA to LHR on a Friday was a bun fight. I was once on a 767!to Rome in 200 with around 100 CE on a Tuesday night. Today numbers by comparison are minuscule.

    • Yes to Lisbon last month exactly the same – coming back it was about 4 rows.

  9. nick haley says:

    OT as well – sorry all – I have two companion tickets in my EC… i want to go business to Singapore (well actually to Melbourne but I cant)… and I don’t quite have enough Avios… is there a find-my-companion tool anyone’s created yet where you buddy up and mutually benefit.

    • I believe that prayer and Devine intervention are the only currently available tools on the Singapore / Australia route.

      Plan a year out book as soon as seats are made available.

      • or put your MR points towards Krisflyer and enjoy a better product/service and award availability

  10. This fits with what some of us suspected when they cut back on economy – gradually incentivising more people to move in front of the curtain and he curtain to end up most or all of the way back. As their economy become more awful/no-frills, they might be happy to lose those customers to the low cost carriers while they try to move as close to fully business class as possible.
    Given that they have Vueling and Level (and *possibly* soon Norwegian…) to cater to the other market, it makes sense that they’d move in this direction with BA (also fits with their high-J long haul refits).

    • This seems to be the plan – make Economy ‘super-budget’ so that it competes with the LCC, and reduce the cost of CE so that it’s more popular, particularly with people that want F&B on board.

      • yeah Cruz has basically said as much in interviews

        • … but that only works if companies change their policies to allow CE. If not, passengers will waltz off to airlines offering better economy service.

          This whole strategy is crazy because, in an attempt to make money off a £29 ticket sold to a price sensitive backpacker, they are driving away those who pay £300 – £500 for flexible economy for business.

        • the real harry1 says:

          I think we’re in that surreal time where investors think Walsh / Cruz must be doing something right – just look at the numbers lol

          then it all goes pear-shaped for 10 years

        • the real harry1 says:

          there is the population thing going on as well

          do you people actually understand how much world population has increased in the last 60 years?

          it will surprise many of you

          here we go

          3 billion in 1960, 7.5 billion in 2020

          with this horribly increasing world population, it’s easy to show growth

          not growth per capita, of course

  11. Chelseafi says:

    O/T I’ve upgraded Gold to Plat yesterday and was approved straight away and when I logged in my account my gold card has changed to Plat (but without the £1k spend bonus bar showing), do I need to wait for my new Plat card to arrive or can I start using my gold card now for spend towards £1k for bonus? Thanks

    • roberto says:

      I think the gold is probably dead and would personally wait for the plat to appear in the next few days before spending towards the £1000. It will have a different number of course.

    • From last months experience you will end up with two cards on the one account. Wait for the platinum to arrive and spend targets to appear.

      • Richard says:

        I’ve had my plat just over a week and no spend target has appeared – should I be concerned about getting the gold to plat bonus?

  12. Well personally i’m quire excited about this ! Living in MAN its always awkward to get anything descent on BA! I have a property near ALC and have recently used the newly commenced CitiFlyer weekend flights. Ive just checked a date for next July and a C ticket has gone from one-way €400+ to €149 ! So yes BA… I will be booking your new one-way Club tickets 🙂

  13. I have just arrived in Bali and in the last week have taken 2 domestic flights with Garuda in Y.
    The first flight was propellers the second a 737-800.
    Neither flight was more than an hour indeed today it was 48 minutes flying time. But both left on time, leg room on both exceed BA club Europe and both delivered water a snack and a towelette with charm and grace. BA club Europe from LHR to MXP 10 days ago by comparison, is a third rate shabby product that simply won’t improve just because the fares been cut.
    For BA to do this they must be hurting a succesful product simply does not need to trash fares. Same day changes should be free but they should not be subject to the fare bucket being available. Let people standby as they do in the USA. It costs nothing and provides much needed goodwill.

  14. OT
    Trying to book an Iberia flight for a friend with miles. As i go through the booking before i pay it says i cannot select seats, im assuming as i am booking into business this is incorrect? Also as a beneficiary i need to put his passport number in to register him, he is going to renew his passport before the flight date, im guessing this is something that can be amended prior to flying and wont cause any issues? TIA

    • All Business seats have direct aisle access, so to me it doesn’t matter very much.
      Do make sure he realises they serve Cava rather than champagne!

  15. James R says:

    I have an economy Stockholm flight booked for November. The upgrade option hasn’t changed in price. Wonder if that will stay the same on all routes.

  16. James R says:

    OT – Anybody else still waiting on their 1k Marriott Avios?

  17. dicksbits says:

    Is BA still intending to further densify it’s short-haul airbus fleet to squeeze in an extra two rows? If so Club Europe won’t feel so ‘premium’s front with even less legroom.

  18. Thanks, great tip! My emerald status courtesy of airberlin until 2019 might be withdrawn any day now, so I decided to renew my BA silver status for which I’m lacking another 20 TP this year.

    Just booked a “LHR lounge discovery and Galleries First Farewell” trip for next Saturday in CE. The outbound from HAM is paid for, the return (due to LHR taxes) is on Avios.

  19. Benedict says:

    As of today, BA hasn’t seen the light at Barcelona 🙁