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Saturday 20 September 2014

Luggage-only fares a hit with travellers

Published 28/02/2013 | 10:29

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Luggage-only fares are a hit with travellers.

The plan by British Airways to introduce cheaper hand luggage-only fares is a hit with travellers, according to a survey by travel search site Skyscanner.

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Nearly half of travellers (45%) say they are more likely to travel with BA or KLM following plans by both airlines to introduce the new fares.

Skyscanner also found price isn't everything when it comes to choosing an airline.

A total of 48% of travellers say they would pay more to fly with traditional airlines rather than budget carriers for a flight departing and arriving at the same airports and at a similar time.

The survey of more than 1,000 travellers found that 40% would pay more than £30 (€35) to travel with a traditional airline, while 8% would happily pay £50-plus (€58) each way.

Service in the sky is the key for British flyers - some 49% would opt for a traditional rather than a budget airline in the belief that they offer superior customer service.

Interestingly, only 8% say free food and drink is the number one reason to pay more for a traditional airline.

Skyscanner's Victoria Bailie says: "Any new product that leads to cheaper flights will be welcomed by passengers.

"BA's hand baggage-only fares mean people who travel light save money, while those who check-in bags still do so at the original price. As low-cost airlines continue to grow, it will be interesting to see if other leading airlines follow suit."

BA has introduced its first hand-luggage-only fares initially on five routes - Gatwick to Amsterdam, Dubrovnik, Jersey, Tunis and Turin - from £39 (€45) one way.

Depending on the route, travellers will save between £9 €10.50) and £15 (€17) by travelling with hand luggage only.

The initiative occurs as five Airbus 319s switch from Heathrow to join Gatwick's short-haul fleet.

Peter Simpson, director of Gatwick for BA, says: "The introduction of hand baggage-only fares gives customers more freedom.

"Many BA customers on Gatwick short-haul breaks don't check in a bag as they're already taking advantage of our generous two-bag hand luggage policy. Those who still check in bags will simply pay the same price they do now."

Customers choosing BA's hand baggage-only fare can continue to take advantage of the airline's hand luggage allowance and carry on a good-sized case (56cm x 45cm x 25cm), plus a handbag or laptop bag.

Children enjoy the same hand luggage allowance as adults, so families can combine their allowances.

BA aims to extend this scheme to the rest of its Gatwick short-haul network in due course.

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