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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)

  • Paul says:

    Nail in the RFS coffin too st these levels and even less reason to fly long haul premium to get them.
    Writing this from AMS on a day trip with kids as cheaper than a day out in a UK theme Park.

    As for hand baggage rules. Just hope IFE fully operational.

  • pommy ray says:

    I’m guessing the flight must start from uk?
    any ideas when this sale ends plesse?

  • Tilly says:

    O/T – went for dinner in Claridges lastnight with a mate. Paid with gold – card the offer for spend £75 get £25 back is saved to – no email to say offer had been redeemed…………

    • Andrew says:

      Sorry – should’ve said that I did wait for a week after the spend transaction appeared on my account before I used the chat…

    • Tilly says:

      Thanks Andrew. I’ll give it a week then. I’m just used to getting the email within seconds of making an offers transaction.

    • Pid says:

      Did the same 3 weeks ago and paid using 3 cards. Two have credited and the third has not so will have to chase that one. No emails for either of the two that credited.

  • Calum says:

    Rob – it’s more like 60x revenue for BA from the £649 passenger, as like you say the cheap fares are barely earning them a tenner.

  • W says:

    What’s the reason behind the hand baggage rule from Male OT? Take it they are not confident with their security?

  • Chris says:

    But without the £26 lead-in fares then they won’t be able to attract those who automatically search for Ryanair and Easyjet. I think this is Alex Cruz’s strategy.

  • Will says:

    If they are going to start selling fares st that price, they need to depart and arrive at more economical airports just like Ryanair and easyJet.

    • the_real_a says:

      What is often forgotten is that much of the growth of the lo cost airlines was driven by much of the population not wanting to travel between TWO big cities / airports. Often the airport in the middle of nowhere is actually the preferred departure/destination to a significant number of local offices/homes.

  • Dave says:

    Id prefer they kept the service levels high and the prices at £99 rtrn+

    • insider says:

      I’d prefer a cheap seat from LHR – as long as it gets me to my destination and it’s not too stressful, I couldn’t give 2 hoots about the rest of it

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