Two years ago, British Airways introduced “Hand Baggage Only” fares on its short-haul route network. As their name suggests, passengers purchasing these fares have to pay a separate fee if they wish to check in a bag into the hold of the aircraft.
BA has long claimed that these fares have been a success. They enable the airline to keep headline fares low when competing against low cost carriers (who have the advantage of generating considerable ancillary revenues from pasengers).
In a somewhat surprising move, BA has today announced that Silver and Gold Executive club cardholders will no longer be able to choose a seat free of charge at the time of booking when booking a hand baggage only fare from Thursday 26 March 2015.
The changes are quite significant and will impact on members depending what level they are in the Executive Club, what cabins they fly on BA and, for the first time, what type of ticket is purchased.
There are some definite negatives and some positives may emerge in time. It is also important to emphasise that they only apply to bookings made after 28 April 2015, so there is a three month window to make bookings in advance of the changes.
We’ve seen speculation online recently (much of it completely unfounded it has to be said) regarding whether British Airways will follow other airlines (such as Delta) in changing its frequent flyer programme whereby points/miles are awarded solely by reference to the absolute amount of money spent with the airline, rather than the distance flown on eligible flights.