Cut-price flights in BA sale

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British Airways is slashing prices on half a million seats in a bid to win back customers after yesterday's narrowly averted strike.

The sale comes as The Times revealed the firm is to offer senior directors unlimited first class flights to anywhere in the world.

People booking before February 6 will be able to take advantage of fares reduced by up to 68 per cent to 48 destinations, with many of the cut price flights departing in the next fortnight.

Andrew Crawley, BA head of sales, said: "We recognise that many customers may have delayed booking their flights on British Airways due to the threat of strike action.

"Now the strike has been called off we have decided to further reduce many of our air fares so air travellers can take advantage of the higher than usual seat availability over the coming weeks at excellent prices.

"The reduced air fares are a superb opportunity to book a last minute spring break to a destination of choice."

Yesterday the airline rushed to reinstate hundreds of flights that had been cancelled because of the planned two day strike by cabin crew.

BA check-in desks at Heathrow airport were near deserted as the airline lost more than 50,000 of its usual 77,000 passengers yesterday after people expecting the strike made alternative arrangements.

Meanwhile union leaders have branded BA's executive travel plan "unbelievable".

Ed Blissett, national officer at the GMB, told The Times: "If this is right it shows the management at BA are more interested in feathering their nests than offering low-paid workers a fair wage."

Commenting on the directors' travel arrangements, a British Airways spokeswoman said: "It is common practice at most other airlines to offer these arrangements.

"This is a proposal which has not yet been agreed or implemented.

"Our annual report states that non-executive directors get non-contractual travel concessions as a benefit."

Some of the best deals in BA's sale are for flights to the United States, with a return trip to New York offered at £199, more than a 50% discount.

Flights to Boston and Philadelphia are on sale for £239 (saving 41%), Orlando and Tampa from £279 (saving 44%) and San Francisco from £289 (saving 40%).

Flights to Dubai will start at £199 (saving 38%), Hong Kong from £299 (saving 29%), Beijing from £299 return (saving 47%) and Tokyo from £299 return (saving up to 65%).

Discounts have also been extended to short haul services with flights to Zurich, Bologna and Pisa starting at £30 one-way (saving up to 23%), Milan from £39 (saving up to 28%) or Lisbon from £44 (saving 25%).