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Bits: BA selling Heathrow economy flights from £26, new Maldives hand baggage rules

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News in brief:

BA now selling economy fares at Heathrow from £26

British Airways has announced a wave of price cuts for the Winter schedules.  It has to be said that they are getting very aggressive on pricing.

On the BA press event earlier this year, Alex Cruz was saying that people who fly to Rome for £29 shouldn’t be getting free snacks.  Which was a good point, except that BA wasn’t actually selling tickets to Rome for £29.

Perhaps we spoke too soon.  They are getting there.  Here are some headline prices from the Winter schedule:

Luxembourg (photo below) – £26 each-way

Palma – £28 each-way

Malaga – £30 each-way

Bilbao – £30 each-way

These are based on a return trip.  You cannot actually buy a one-way ticket at this price as far as I can see.  I found days with more than nine seats to Luxembourg available for £26, so they haven’t just released a token 2-3 seats per flight at these prices.

According to BA, the “bulk” of Heathrow short-haul routes now have some seats for £39 or less.

I’m worried that BA is actually pricing these too low.  Any status member who books one of these and uses fast track security and the lounge will be losing BA quite a bit of money.

Luxembourg, for example, is a Terminal 3 flight and anyone using the Cathay Pacific lounge (click for review) or – from November – Qantas lounge (which any sane person would do) will be incurring a bill for BA greater than their ticket price.   A £52 return ticket to Luxembourg is actually £11 of base fare and £41 of taxes and charges.  These are all ‘real’ taxes and charges so BA is only getting £11 of your money.

So … BA chips away at leg room and free food and snacks in order to sell tickets to Luxembourg for £52 return.  There are, however, plenty of people who need to travel to Luxembourg at short notice who will have to pay £649 return in economy – and those are the people who are most likely to be defecting to other airlines with more leg room and better refreshments.  One of those passengers brings in the same revenue as 12 passengers who have paid the cheapest economy fare.  This is why I worry about the BA strategy.

New hand baggage restrictions to The Maldives

Male has been added to the list of departure points where there are severe hand baggage restrictions on flights TO the UK.  Outbound flights are not affected.

Here is the full BA guidance:

“You will not be able to carry laptops, tablets and larger mobile phones in your hand baggage on these flights. Only mobile phones smaller than the following dimensions will be allowed in the cabin:

  • Length: 16 cm
  • Width: 9.3 cm
  • Depth: 1.5 cm

In addition, certain items known as peripheral devices (which can be attached to a laptop, tablet or larger mobile phone) are also subject to new security requirements.  Please be aware that some peripheral devices will not be allowed on board the aircraft at all.”

You can find more details on ba.com here.

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Comments (80)

  • Genghis says:

    I’d be tempted with a 20% avios bonus though not a given.
    The 3x Uber works well for us for the occasional Uber (so as long remains in London) and I can convert to cash through work Ubers to LGW/LHR. Used hotels.com the other day for 3x but given no cash back / rewards its more like c.2.5x.
    So would I add to the avios stash at 2.88x (1p val) with further arbitrage opportunity but to be used years down the line or take the 2.5x on hotels.com and 3x on Uber now? It’s a tough one.

    • the real harry1 says:

      I think I’ll add a few more Virgin miles next time there’s a 20% bonus, I was on the point of going for it just recently but chickened out – the AF/ KLM thing probably will be a game changer for European use – if BA comes up trumps first I guess they’ll get them instead; no Uber round here

  • Ammar Ghouri says:

    Ot – OH needs to 2 eligible flights to hit silver.

    The BA website states “Marketed and operated by Iberia’ means the flight will have an IB flight number and the aircraft you travel on is an Iberia aircraft (including franchises).”

    So, If i book my wife a return trip from BHX-MAD on Iberia website but operated by Iberia express (hand baggage only fare), will that count as 2 flights?

  • Cate says:

    OT – the new IHG Points break preview is out. Looking forward to Rob’s take on this quarter’s offering….

  • laura baden-powell says:

    OT but i can’t find the info anywhere. Have a BA EX premium card and have earned 1 companion voucher already. We are a family of 3, when I get the next voucher is it useless for the 3rd person? IE would I need 2 full price tix to get my 2 children on board with me? Is there a way round this with another card? TIA

    • Rob says:

      The 3rd person would be ‘full Avios’, yes.

      Plan B is to get the Lloyds Avios Rewards card and spend £7k on that to trigger the upgrade voucher. You can then do:

      2 x Club World tickets for the Avios of one, using the BA voucher
      1 x Club World ticket for the cost of a World Traveller Plus ticket, using the Lloyds voucher

      However …. I THINK (and I am not sure on this) that the Lloyds voucher would need to be in the name of the other adult to whoever has the BA Amex, because the Lloyds voucher can only be used for the named cardholder. If the BA card is in your name, you’d use the 241 to book yourself and the child, with hubby having the Lloyds card in his name and using the upgrade voucher for his ticket.