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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 here.

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Comments (80)

  • William says:

    I agree that it smacks of desperation. Perhaps not surprising after yesterday’s unimpressive results and consequent share price collapse.

    • Frenzie says:

      They are not desperate. Passenger numbers are increasing, profit is increasing.

      If its too expensive thats the problem. If its too cheapt thats the problem.

      You could just say “Oh £26, now that is a deal I would expect in line with the BOB”

    • Catalan says:

      So does it smack if desperation when Qatar Airways constantly have business class sales every other week?

  • TripRep says:

    Real shame about the Maldives hand baggage rule, spent a 1/3 of my flight back usiing my laptop selecting and editing photos for my HFP article, also watched a movie.

    I also note a restriction on some diving equipment but can’t fnd specifics, would normally take a u/w camera, dive torch and dive computer in hand luggage.

    I guess Qatar are not restricted with hand luggage for going via Doha, could be a more attractive option for some because of this, esp if LGW is not your final destination.

  • Roger says:

    OT- Amex PRGC to Platinum upgrade.

    I have applied for PRGC in few months of cancelling last MR card.
    As a result did not receive sign up bonus (wasn’t expecting either for breach of T&Cs).
    1. How likely is it that I will receive 20000 MR points if I was to upgrade my card from PRGC to Platinum?
    2. Also a follow on Q. Mrs Roger is due Amex PRGC/Platinum churn.
    Is it true that Platinum to PRGC referral to her will earn me 18000 MR points as opposed to 9000?

    • Rob says:

      Upgrade bonus will be fine. Referral bonus Plat to Gold is 9k but some are reporting 18k over the last week or so.

      • TomL says:

        I received 18,000MR for Plat to Gold referral yesterday. Unexpected bonus!

        • John W says:

          When did the referral MR points appear in your plat account ?
          I’ve referred from my wife’s plat to get me gold . Gold cards arrived yesterday and I intend to register the card this morning . Does the referral trigger straight away

      • Rashad says:

        Interesting, thought something is not right as I’ve received 18K too

        • John W says:

          Just checked my account and I have had 18K points . Went to ref another friend and the website now states referral from Plat to Gold is 18K, whereas, last weekend it stated 9K

        • Alex W says:

          Interesting. Perhaps this is a tactic to encourage people to keep the plat for longer?

  • Middle Office says:

    This is dreadful news. The place will be awash with the sort of types you see over at Gatwick, clogging the whole place up and dressed as they do.

    • Erico1875 says:

      Yes. They should have a dress code. Bowler hat and stripey tie maybe?
      RYANAIR are flying to Milan for £9 and Rome from £11 over the winter. Thats the price level to fill seats over winter.

    • Leo says:

      Oh listen to yourself.

      • Mikeact says:

        Hang on a minute, Gatwick’s my local….are you sure you didn’t mean Stansted or Luton ?

    • Sx Man says:

      As a regular LGW user who risked T5 last Friday, I have to say from the state of the First lounge that it’s already happened. I was in a creche not an airport business lounge. Needless to say that on arrival in DUS I immediately changed my return flight to Gatwick even though this meant a rail journey over to AMS. In the end, it proved far more enjoyable than public transport from Heathrow down to Sussex.

  • Roger says:

    Since AMEX changed layout the table form listing bonus has gone from website T&Cs and it seem to suggest you get 18000 MR points for referral.
    Was looking for empirical evidence either way to confirm.

  • Pianoman says:

    OT. Got reply from Iberia status match can’t tell if I have been given gold anyone else got reply

  • Amit says:

    What is the gold to plat referral bonus (if any)?

  • Simon says:

    Also OT – I hope everyone has seen this take on the hobby:

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