British Airways has become the latest airline to announced new “hand baggage only” fares on selected routes as traditional European airlines battle it out with low-cost carriers.
BA’s new fares are available on its Gatwick routes to Amsterdam, Dubrovnik, Jersey, Tunis and Turin and allow passengers to take on a case plus a handbag or laptop bag.
It comes following the success of carriers like easyJet and Ryanair that have snatched some of the weekend city break and short-haul business market by charging for checked baggage, therefore encouraging hand baggage only.
With these travellers focused on price and convenience, airlines such as BA are now adopting a similar approach and are releasing ‘no-frills’ fares in an attempt to claim back passengers.
KLM has too announced it will now ask travellers to check in baggage for European flights in its new fares.
The additional benefit of these is the airlines can offer what appears at first as a cheaper starting price.
Although as Peter Simpson, BA’s director at Gatwick says: “The introduction of our hand baggage only fare is all about giving our customers more freedom to choose the kind of flying they want. Many British Airways customers on Gatwick short-haul breaks choose not to check in a bag as they’re already taking advantage of our generous two-bag hand luggage policy. Those who still want to check in a bag will simply pay the same price they do now”.
Perhaps the airlines are hoping the hand luggage-only fares will encourage customers to purchase higher class tickets, as these will continue to include baggage and other benefits.
Clearly the advantage for carriers such as BA and KLM is the service comparison to the low-cost alternative but time will tell as to whether this more flexible option is enough to bring back those now accustomed to no frills conditions, especially now they are allocated seats.