British Airways has become the latest airline to offer a so-called basic economy fare on their long-haul flights in a bid to compete with their low cost airline competitors as well as addressing traveller demand for cheaper way to get to their destination.
The long haul low cost model is becoming wide-spread across the sector and passengers opting for the new BA economy basic fare will not be able to check in any luggage and will be allocated seats randomly, except in the case of families. Yet, they will still be able to enjoy free meals and drinks. Those wishing to select their seat will have to pay £20 each way and up to £80 return to check-in luggage.
The lowest fare rolled out under the new pricing last Wednesday was from London to Dubai, which stands at £143 one way.
BA said that the cheaper ticket will be introduced on the routes from London to Austin, Boston, Delhi, Denver, Dubai, Hong Kong, Oakland, Philadelphia, Punta Cana and Singapore. If the fares are successful, the company will introduce them for more destinations, including routes such as London-New York.
According to GlobalData’s consumer survey, cost is the most important factor for consumers when choosing an airline when they go on holiday; 58% argued that cost is very important when choosing an airline, followed by comfort (44%) and reputation (34%).
For some years consumers have been turning away from spending on goods towards spending on experiences. Travel is often the key experience spend for consumers, especially for the millennial generation seeking life changing travel experiences that enable them to better explore the world
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The way people see air travel are also changing. In the past, air travel was more of a luxury treat. However, a growing number of people see flights just as a means of getting to a destination, where the actual adventure begins. Therefore, what really matters to travellers are cheap and easy transport and a large variety of routes.
A growing number of airlines are already responding to consumers’ quest for affordability by introducing cheaper offerings like Norwegian, Canada’s Westjet and Iceland’s Wow Air as well as Virgin Atlantic.
British Airways sister companies Iberia and Finnair are expecting to roll out more fragmented fare options soon.
While trans-Atlantic flights have somewhat retained the glamour of travel when compared to short haul routes, they are fast transforming towards offering a bare-bones experience, proving once more that competition is the most powerful means to reduce market inefficiencies, while meeting the actual needs of consumers.