British Airways (BA) is all set to change its economy fare structure. The changes will be applicable to its short-haul services and are expected to be made effective next month.
The move is aimed to make BA's fares simpler and more attractive against competitors like easyJet. It is also aimed at giving more benefits to its economy passengers who decide to pay for their check- in luggage as they would be able to change tickets without paying an extra fee, under the new structure.
A source explained: "Currently, if you want to change a flight, you pay £60 [€77, $86] plus the fare difference. Under the new rules, if you want to change days beforehand, there is no change fee, but you pay the fare difference and on the day you travel, there is no penalty if you want to come home on an earlier flight," according to TTG Media, a UK publication for the travel and tourism industry.
As per the new structure, the Harmondsworth headquartered company will offer three fare types that include, Hand Baggage Only, With Checked Bag and Fully Flex. This is a step forward from the previous two-type fare structure which was more complex and included the options of hand baggage only or checked bag.
While the new structure seems to be more simplified, the challenge for BA going forward would be to ensure that passengers paying for check-in baggage get free flight changes on the day of departure, according to Buying Business Travel, a UK publication for travel.
Alastair Dickenson, client business manager at Wings Travel Management, said the travel operator had been informed of the changes. He added that it was "in favour [of anything that] simplifies fare structures".
"Free flight changes on day of departure for checked baggage fares will be the biggest win for our clients I think, but it's fair to note this has been in place with Easyjet for a long time," he added.
BA said: "We're advising the travel trade of some positive changes we'll be making to our short-haul fares to streamline them in response to customer feedback. We're telling the trade now so they are able to update their systems ahead of launching the fares with a phased approach throughout March and April. We'll be communicating with customers as soon as all the changes are live in the selling systems."