British Airways revamps Europe tickets, cuts free checked luggage

By John Walton, February 25 2013

British Airways is shaking up European fares from its London Gatwick hub, with new "no bag" tickets on sale now for flights from 26 February.

The airline insists the basic luggage-inclusive ticket price will remain the same under the new regime, with passengers seeing new "hand baggage only" fares at a discount of between A$12-26, depending on route.

That's a bit of a saving for business travellers who don't check a bag, and theoretically cost-neutral for anyone who knows they need to bring more than the carry-on allowance (assuming that fares don't rise). That said, there will be a higher charge to add a bag if your plans change after booking, so check those terms and conditions carefully.

And don't think that your BA, Qantas, or other oneworld frequent flyer card — even at Qantas Platinum or oneworld Emerald level — will let you check luggage if you buy a "hand baggage only" fare. You're not entitled to any free bags with that type of ticket, even if you're the most frequent of flyers.

On the plus side, it's pretty clear what you get for your fare. No bait and switch tactics on BA's website when booking:

Five routes — Amsterdam, Dubrovnik, Jersey, Tunis and Turin — will kick off the "no bags" trend, with the airline widely tipped to push it out to all Gatwick services.

The bag fee is unlikely to push travellers to buy BA's Club Europe "middle seat free economy" business class — but check out our insider secret guide to getting Eurobusiness when you pay for regular economy

An all-Gatwick rollout would cover much of BA's European network, since Gatwick is popular with business travellers not connecting from elsewhere — and often significantly better value than flying from Heathrow.

But with the new fare structure combined with smaller Gatwick's business traveller friendly benefits — spacious new British Airways check-in areas, fast-track security and spruced up business lounges — BA is sending mixed messages about its secondary hub to frequent flyers.

Gatwick flights usually work out significantly cheaper than its larger airport sibling (for example: a one-way flight from Gatwick to Amsterdam in a fortnight's time was four times more expensive if departing from Heathrow) so frequent flyers won't usually pay up for a flight from LHR.

But the airline's most valuable passengers can't help but feel nickel-and-dimed by fees like this.

For the latest information business travellers and frequent flyers need, follow @AusBT on Twitter.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Oct 2012

Total posts 122

And not to mention their cabin bagage allowance is 23 kilos? why would you need to check in ? BUT it still has to be a regular cabin bag size. On BA wbsite , it states you can have a lap top bag also .I wonder if this is the case with their " no  bags tickets" price.

I guess BA wants to lose business to the other airlines.

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 128

I probably am being impatient but

what happened to the review of the new CX regional business as well as the full review of the New Wing First Lounge

 

thanks

KG
KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

Please make sure you have small change to use the toilet next time you are on a BA flight!

Read this on business traveller. Absolutely retarded to charge for checked baggage IMHO, especially if they will not let premium FF off the hook for checked baggage. What is the incentive to stay loyal to BA? Until other European airlines start charging for checked baggage there is absolutely no reason to stay loyal to BA.....

06 Feb 2013

Total posts 6

Premium FF doesn't have a problem to pay 8 £ extra.

KG
KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

it is not the amount as such but more the fact they expect loyal customers who fly regularly to pay extra. Not the way to "reward" loyalty IMHO. In the USA where you pay for everything at least FF get free checked baggage.

06 Feb 2013

Total posts 6

Then you should take the normal fare where premium FF should buy. The price reduction is only offered for person who doesn't really need a checked-in baggage.

KG
KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

Call me a pessimist, but I am willing to bet that the "normal" fare is surely not the old fare that included checked baggage, despite what BA says (they will obviously not say that they have increased the ticket prices). More likely that the non-checked baggage fare is the old "all inclusive" fare. It is just another way to make a few bucks (ancillary revenue as they call it). Air fares in general are difficult to compare over time as they fluctuate heavily so there is no real way to see if customers are being charged more now when checking baggage. In any case I personally find it disappointing that "full service" airlines go down the path of low cost.

06 Feb 2013

Total posts 6

Of course it might not be the 'old fare' offered by BA. With or without baggage, the price - as you said - might goes up and down. depending on availability. 

But to answer your question: "Absolutely retarded to charge for  [....] especially if they will not let premium FF off the hook for checked baggage. What is the incentive to stay loyal to BA?"

Does somebody force you to 'stay loyal' to BA, or even generally: who says to you to fly Oneworld?

KG
KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

Sure you can go down that path that nobody forces you and you have a choice etc etc , however, as stated before, being a full service airline going down the low cost path to me is shows lack of strategic direction. They should have just upped the ticket price with 10 pounds for all as opposed to introducing a baggage fee structure. Again, if I am flying a full service airline I do not want to pay extras for services I may expect the airline to offer for free. We can differ from opinion of course and there are probably people who do not mind but I am one of the persons that as John stated "..feel nickel-and-dimed by fees like this."

British AIrways

08 Feb 2011

Total posts 22

Hard to understand where BA is going.

We just booked two round-tickets from Europe to San Francisco on BA in C, paid over 5000€ for the tickets and if we wanted to select the seats in advance, 312 € downstairs form the transatlantic crossing or 384 € upstairs.  

Excuse me but almost 10% charge for advanced seat selection in business class?!

07 Aug 2012

Total posts 197

This is probably just a reaction to KL charging for checked baggage on intra-Europe flights from April 23. It just takes one to start before they all go that way (just like happened in America).

12 Jul 2011

Total posts 76

Oneworld Emerald should still get one piece or 20kg (or whatever it is) under the Oneworld agreement though, shouldn't it?

QFF Gold QC gold

26 Nov 2012

Total posts 56

Doesn't this mean that people have to start fighting for overhead storage space? Bogans start bringing on board maximum weight allowed and so you find there is no room for luggage.

When I fly JetStar (in desperation) I have to get on board early or I have no chance of placing my luggage overhead. Of course there is always a spot somewhere on the plane but it is likely to be rear of where you are sitting which means waiting for everyone behind you to leave before you can walk back to get your luggage.

If you are so desperate to save a bit of money when flying then perhaps you can't afford to fly.

Madness.


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