Heathrow Airport makes much of the fact that it is “full” and there is no space for any other new routes, to all those destinations in emerging economies, to which, according to Heathrow, new air links are absolutely vital. But as Heathrow is so full, (so the theory goes) these links cannot be set up, and so UK plc will languish …. without direct routes to a range of second or third tier cities. So it is something of a surprise to find that BA now has space among its Heathrow slots for some new low-cost day return fares to European cities, for day trips at weekends. BA is offering what it claims to be “affordable day trip” tickets for anyone wanting to fly to popular city break destinations (Rome, Dublin, Geneva, Vienna, Munich) and back on the same day. BA said it could not reveal how many day trip tickets were set aside for each destination, due to commercially sensitivity. The Telegraph says:”Encouraging travellers to fly twice in a day might anger environmentalists. When asked to comment on the effect of such short trips, a spokesman said: “It’s the customer’s choice and they can offset their carbon emissions on the BA website if they wish to.” ” What can one say? One comment below the article mentions the “mindless hedonist” ……
By Natalie Paris and Oliver Smith (Telegraph)
5 Mar 2014
British Airways is offering what it claims to be “affordable day trip” tickets for anyone wanting to fly to popular city break destinations and back on the same day
The airline is offering the return fares, from Heathrow Airport only, to Dublin (from £79); Edinburgh (from £89); Geneva (from £79); Vienna (from £99); Munich (from £99) and Rome (from £89).
The flights are for those travelling with hand luggage only and are for departures on Saturdays or Sundays.
At first glance, these seem like fairly good prices, when compared to the cost of adding together two single tickets through BA. But low-cost rivals still outflank the carrier. A quick look at Ryanair’s website reveals that a day return to Dublin on a typical April weekend, for example, can be found for as little £43.78 (also hand luggage only).
Prices aside, would a day trip to Europe be worth it? The longest that BA’s flight schedule would allow anyone in Rome for example, would be around nine hours – six if you take an earlier flight home – including time spent at the airports at each end. Dublin would be a better bet. A day tripper to the Irish capital could spend up to 12 hours exploring the city, including time to get to and from the airport.
Telegraph Travel ran a quick spot check on the BA website (www.ba.com) when the news was announced today to see what sort of prices we could find.
The day return tickets are not labelled as such, so took a little tracking down.
Day returns for Dublin were available for the advertised price of £79 for some weekends in March and throughout April and May. Same-day flights into and out of Edinburgh could be found for £89 during weekends in April, and return fares to Geneva were available for £79.
But the advertised prices for day returns to Munich and Rome were much harder to come by.
Taking Rome as an example, we only managed to find one available return fare between now and May 24 for £89. The price of a return on the first flight into Rome and last back to Heathrow on other weekend dates in March, April and May, variously cost from £169 up to £801 (on March 15).
BA said it could not reveal how many day trip tickets were set aside for each destination, due to the information being “commercially sensitive”, but admitted that availability changes depending on the route.
The fares are only available on flights departing at the start and the end of the day but travellers have a choice between two early or two late flights in some destinations.
Encouraging travellers to fly twice in a day might anger environmentalists. When asked to comment on the effect of such short trips, a spokesman said: “It’s the customer’s choice and they can offset their carbon emissions on the BA website if they wish to.”
The airline said it intends to roll out the fares to other European cities from Heathrow in future, where its flight schedules allow it.