BA launches hand baggage-only fares on long-haul flights

British Airways passengers who buy the lowest fares on some long-haul routes will have to pay to check in luggage, the airline has announced.

A new "basic fare" is being introduced for passengers with hand baggage.

Tickets will cost up to £60 less than the standard return fare, BA said.

They are on sale for flights from London to Austin, Boston, Delhi, Denver, Dubai, Hong Kong, Oakland, Philadelphia, Punta Cana and Singapore.

Passengers will still be served complimentary food and drink and be able to take two items of hand luggage on board.

But checking in a bag will cost from £80 return, with seat selection starting at £20 each way.

BA's chief commercial officer Adam Daniels said: "We know that when our customers travel with us their needs vary from trip to trip, some will be flying on business, some for leisure, some will be on short hops, others will be longer stays.

"We need to ensure that the fares we provide reflect those differing needs so customers can select the best option for them on that occasion.

"Someone travelling for a short meeting or leisure break, who isn't planning to check in a bag and is happy for us to allocate them a seat, will appreciate the option to secure a lower fare.

"They'll still receive our generous hand baggage allowance, a seat allocated to them in advance, complimentary food and drink, in-flight entertainment, blankets and headphones, all at no extra cost."

Virgin Atlantic launched its first hand baggage only ticket last month.

BA has been accused of turning itself into a budget operator in recent years due to measures such as ending free catering for short haul economy customers and squeezing an extra seat into each economy row on some long-haul routes.

But chief executive Alex Cruz insists it remains a "premium airline" and says "we don't really make an apology" for attempting to become more efficient to compete with low cost rival airlines.

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