As Ryanair continues to get nicer, British Airways has become meaner.
Ryanair revealed the next stage of its “Always Getting Better” customer charter that will reduce its fees, simplify its sales process and improve its digital offering.
But British Airways has announced that from March 26, passengers who have bought its hand-baggage-only fares will have to pay (from £14 return) if they want to select their own seats.
British Airways new charge
BA launched hand baggage only fares in 2013. It was a useful new idea although with irritating drawbacks. Two passengers booking together had to buy the same fare, either both with bags or both without bags. Also passengers had to buy the same fare in both directions, even though the fares are effectively two single.
The UK-based airline will now allocate a seat at check-in for passengers who buy the hand baggage only fares. If they want a different seat they will have to pay more. The charge will apply to all levels of frequent flyer. The irritations listed above look like staying.
The way that British Airways online check-in works is that passengers are allocated a seat and they can then view a seat map of the remaining seats and change to one they prefer.
I always try to check-in online as soon as it open but am always allocated a seat right at the back and often at a window. I’ve been a BA Executive Club member (at all levels) for 26 years and perhaps they should have realised by now that I prefer towards the front and an aisle. So will they allocate my preference or see this as a very nice extra ancillary revenue by not allocating my preference and pushing for fees for seat changes?
Standard seat prices start from £7/€8/$11 each on UK Domestic and European flights, and £20/€24/$30 each on longer international flights.
Earlier this tear BA announced major changes to the way members of British Airways Executive Club can earn and redeem Avios on BA and partner airline flights. In many cases the effect is largely negative for the passenger.
IAG boss figures
Willie Walsh, the boss of IAG, the parent company of BA and Iberia, has had a pay rise of almost a third. His total deal for 2014 totalled £6.4 million, comprising £850,000 salary and other benefits.
Mr Walsh got a 3pc rise in his basic salary, which he gave to charity, according to IAG’s annual financial report.
Ryanair cuts charges
Measures the airline is introducing include reducing the fee for checking in at airports from £70 / €70 to £45 / €45 and cutting the price it charges for missed departures from £110 / €110 to £99 / €99.
Other improvements include revamping the website and app to make bookings easier, offering a “reserve a fare” service for £5 / €5, and launching a price comparison function.
Ryanair charges people flying from Britain the same number of pounds as euros. So it costs UK departing passengers more e.g. €70 today is worth £50.
Any difference between legacy carriers and low-cost?
It is the latest step in the steady erosion of the distinction between traditional airlines such as BA and their no-frills rivals. The only major difference now between the fare structure and service on a BA and its low cost rivals like Ryanair is that you get a free drink and a snack (usually a biscuit) on BA.