BA takes full-service battle to no-frills rivals

2009-06-24

British Airways is fighting back against its budget airline rivals by claiming ‘no frills means extra bills’. It has launched a ‘value calculator’ on ba.com, which adds up the cost of charges from Ryanair and easyJet to compare against the BA fare.Richard Tams, BA head of UK & Ireland sales, claimed that passengers on a round trip can pay up to ?375 on Ryanair and ?79 on easyJet for these ‘extras’ in addition to their fare.‘With BA, the price you see is the price you pay,' he said. 'It’s been well documented that some of the no-frills carriers charge for a range of ‘extras’ that we consider to be part of our core service, from checking in a bag to food and drinks on board.‘We’re just making these transparent for customers. The no-frills carriers claim they’re always cheaper. Our calculator shows they are not.’However, Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said: 'It wouldn’t matter if BA put pictures of naked women on their website, passengers will always go to Ryanair.com to book the lowest fares. 'That is why Ryanair will carry over 67m passengers this year – more than double BA’s declining figure of less than 30m.’The tool, at ba.com/valuecalculator, enables passengers to select how they want to travel, such as checking in at the airport or online, selecting a seat 24 hours before they fly, taking a bag, or opting for food and drink on board. It will then calculate what Ryanair, easyJet and BA will charge in total for those options.Separately, BA announced it will axe Gatwick flights to Alicante, Palma, Malta, Madrid, Barcelona and Krakow this winter, while Pisa, Malaga and Gibraltar services will move to Heathrow. It will fly to Varna in Bulgaria from Gatwick during the summer months only. The new winter schedule will include extra services from Gatwick to Bermuda, Barbados, St Lucia and Port of Spain.These are in addition to the previously announced new winter routes of Heathrow to Las Vegas and Gatwick to Montego Bay in Jamaica, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, Male in the Maldives, Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt and Innsbruck in Austria.