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

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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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Comments (115)

  • mark2 says:


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    • Wally1976 says:

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  • Ben says:

    I noticed last week that the same day flexibility on LHR CE flights had appeared (it had already existed for LGW since sometime earlier in the year) – it’s a useful new benefit. I couldn’t see the same flexibility for LCY though (except when booking a fully flexible ticket) – does anyone know if this is only for LHR and LGW?

  • John E says:

    It’s interesting that in this example BA is selling three CE seats (including the blocked middle) for £610 return, and three economy for £543 (3×181). £67 seems a small amount to cover all the extras for two people (that actually cost BA something) – extra bag, meal, drinks, lounge comsumables, increased compensation when things go wrong. This seems surpringly low, but I guess the importance of taxes and reduced cabin weight are what I’m missing in my understanding.

  • Amit says:

    O/T have booked a flight and hotel package with Malaysia Airlines to Perth when it was on sale for around £1600 (in J)There has been a schedule change, so the outbound now leaves 12 hours earlier, with a 13 hour connection in KUL. As I cannot make this the only option they are offering me is to fly 2 days later, which again is not ideal as it eats into my time down under. Realistically should I be pushing for a refund? I will be out of pocket as won’t be able to rebook at that price now..thanks

  • Andrew says:

    Is this all CE flights or just LHR/LCY departures? Looking at, for example, LON-AMS for a day return on a randomly-picked 17 March, to/from LHR is pricing at £133 each way, LCY at £140 (all I class), but LGW departures are D class at £261.

    • Jovanna says:

      My regular route via Gatwick doesnt seem to be any cheaper. I checked a few one way CE fares over the next 10 months and all €500+

  • Polly says:

    We often end up paying CE from DUB to get our final TPs. And we would go CE out to our jump off city for an ex EU QR Asia trip. We find the Y return part, on the day change, very useful when we land on QR, and want to get back to the UK earlier. Just call up BA from the arrivals queue. That same day change in Y is innovative. In fact the only positive thing in last couple of years.
    So l can see how this will work for BA. ESP if chasing silver on your 4x BA metal flights.
    Also companies have said no to J for biz short flights for a while now, so many may actually allow some perceived comfort for their employees if CE is more competitively priced. Lounge, fast track, blocked seat, matter to biz people we know. The change option might be more difficult tho due to lack of availability in same class.

  • Cheshire Pete says:

    Can’t see a lot of difference at the moment
    On both the main routes I use LON(any) > AMS and LHR>MAN. CE to MAN at short notice £265 , £135 a bit further out. I’ve seen the MAN as low as £75 to £95 one way even before this alledged new policy!

    • Cheshire Pete says:

      Also can’t see the Saturday night change , for example this Friday AMS to ANY if come
      Back Saturday the outward is €279 on 2115 to Gatwick and €252 2120 to LHR. If I push the return to come back Sunday the price drops to €128 and €211. Still a heck of a difference not staying Saturday.

      • the real harry1 says:

        on our regular route from LHR (destination an hour or so further than Hamburg) there’s a decent saving (a couple of £hundred on a midweek return ticket) vs the typical CE prices I’m used to seeing in the past – though Friday/ Saturday/ sometimes Sunday pricing looks to have actually increased

        the differential vs regular economy is over £100 each way, though – so a lot to pay for the extras with your own money

        definitely the pricing model seems to have changed significantly

  • meta says:

    On my regular route (ZAG), BA have become so uncompetitive that it’s ridiculous, even in business. Just last Friday bought a fully flexible business class ticket with two days notice for £300 with Croatia Airlines. BA wanted £900 for CE for a semi-flex. Service is also much better in general with CA.

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