News: BA comes into line with low-cost airlines

The best deals, the latest hot spots and what's new in travel

Quietly and without any public statement, British Airways has been abandoning one of its long-standing practices designed to restrict the availability of low fares. BA is now selling its very cheapest seats as one-way flights.

A decade ago, every airline could limit access to cheap European fares by making budget travellers jump through two hoops: insisting on a return trip, and stipulating a minimum stay of one Saturday night. By these means, business travellers were obliged to pay the highest fares.

Inconveniently for the airlines, a decade ago easyJet declared itself indifferent to how long its customers chose to stay away; they could return the same day, or from a different airport, or not at all, because the airline has only ever sold one-way flights.

Four years ago, the rise of no-frills flying undermined BA's "Saturday-night minimum" rule, which was ditched for most European flights. Now, the arcane fare structure whereby a one-way flight could cost much more than a return is coming to an end, too.

"Return trips are still the most popular option," says a spokeswoman for BA, "but we recognise the need of some short-haul passengers to have the flexibility of one-way fares."

That flexibility does not yet extend right across the European network; for a New Year trip to Moscow, the lowest return fare is £208, but a one-way flight is £200 more.

On most routes, though, BA has come into line with the low-cost airlines. As a result, Europe has opened up for people who prefer BA's service and route network.

For example, an itinerary for next week including a one-way from Heathrow to Prague, and a return from Berlin, comes in at a reasonable £140 - previously, the price of two one-way fares would have topped £500.

Until next Tuesday, 29 November, BA has a seat sale to Spain and Portugal with one-way fares designed to compete directly with those of easyJet, Monarch and Thomsonfly on key routes; in January, you can fly to Malaga from Gatwick for £34 or from Heathrow for £47.

Most other airlines are expected to fall into line with British Airways on routes to and from the UK.

BMI - British Airways' main European competitor - adopted the policy on many of its routes last year. On some "code-share" flights, however, outlandish prices still prevail. In response to a test booking made four weeks ahead for an economy seat on an off-peak departure from Heathrow to Munich (operated by Lufthansa), the airline's reservation system reported that "the class selected is no longer available" and demanded £409 for a one-way trip in business class.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
Designer Oscar de la Renta takes a bow after showing his Spring 2015 collection in September, his last show before his death
fashionThe passing of the legendary designer has left a vacancy: couturier to America’s royalty, says fashion editor Alexander Fury
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are