British Airways will cut the average leg room on some European flights as it plans to squeeze more passengers on its A320 and A321 aircraft. The move to add an extra two rows (12 seats) will cut passenger leg room by one inch to 29 inches – the same as Easyjet but less than Ryanair. BA said the move will help keep fares low. “We will be flying to more than 78 short-haul destinations this year, with fares starting as low as £39,” a spokesman said.
The move by BA follows its efforts to offer a service more akin to that of its budget rivals by scrapping the free snacks and drink passengers used to get in economy class on short-haul flights. In January, BA stopped serving free food and drink on all of its short-haul services, instead partnering up with Marks and Spencer instead to supply sandwiches and snacks at a cost to the consumer. Last summer, the national carrier also reduced its free meal service on long-haul economy flights of less than eight-and-a-half hours from two meals to one. Many flights from the UK to the US east coast, including New York, take between seven and eight hours while the journey to Toronto and Montreal in Canada is around seven. The meal service received by Business (Club) and First customers has not been changed.
But there are those who see this new direction as an error. Nick Trend, Telegraph Travel’s consumer editor, said: “This strikes me as a significant mistake by BA. If it has one invaluable asset as an airline, it is that many customers still believe they will get a better experience flying with BA than with cheaper alternatives such as Ryanair. That’s a hard reputation to win; and an easy one to lose.” (Business Traveller, The Telegraph)