Since I wrote the post below British Airways has introduced “no baggage” fares on all its short haul routes from London Gatwick.
British Airways has introduced a new hand luggage only fare on five of its routes out of London Gatwick. A smart move? It would appear that it is. I’d rather have a discount for not taking checked-in luggage than be charged more to take it. Actually it makes no difference either way. If I take hand baggage only I am still going to pay less than if I take checked-in bags. However, the idea of getting a discount is always psychologically more appealing.
In an earlier post I compared budget airlines with full service airlines. I compared easyjet’s fares to Thessaloniki against BA’s fares to the same destination. BA came out on top if you were taking checked-in bags. Now that they have a hand baggage only fare does this still apply.
I decided to once again compare the two airlines as it is these add-on charges that push up the prices and make the budget airlines less of a great deal. Unfortunately I cannot compare it on the Thessaloniki route as the routes from London Gatwick to Turin, Tunis, Jersey, Amsterdam and Dubrovnik, are the only ones were the hand baggage only fares apply.
A hand baggage only fare to Dubrovnik from London Gatwick with British Airawys comes in at £73. For that you get to take on a piece of hand luggage that fits within certain dimensions (see their website for current dimensions) and a handbag or laptop bag. You also get to choose your seat 24 yours ahead of departure and food and drink are included.
With easyjet on the same route the advertised fare is £61.50. However, you have to pay to choose a seat. The cost of this depends on where you choose to sit; the cheapest are £3. Add on drinks, sandwich or other snack and a chocolate bar or similar and you pay another £7 or more. Hand baggage is limited to one piece so the laptop has to be in your case or left at home.
British Airways’ fare for the London-Dubrovnik route is £73 while easyjet’s fare on the same route with the same service is £71.50 or more. However, with easyjet you do have the option of taking a chance on which seat you get and not eating or drinking on the flight (or bringing your own).
There is very little in it on this route with British Airways’ new fare – the chance to take a laptop bag or handbag might make the difference. On this flight on this route it is really down to which airline you prefer, the service on board or the timing of the flights.
In the earlier post I looked at travelling with baggage. This move by British Airways means they can now compete with the budget airlines for passengers travelling light. It gives the passenger more choice too. If I am travelling away for a weekend break and travelling light I do not have to stick to the budget airlines to get the best deal.
Tip: The add-on charges of the budget airlines are fairly standard. To save time when booking check out what they are and know the total for what you want from a flight. Then use a site like Skyscanner (£) or Kayak to compare prices then add on the extras total you have already researched.
What do you think of BA’s new hand baggage only fare?