BA flame the budget airlines with their online MacGuffin
Stop everything, right now. Close the curtains, lock the door, call your mother, your boss, call your MP and the police for crying out loud. You're about to witness a spectacle never seen at Bitterwallet before, and in all honesty you'll never see again. You might want to sit down.
We're going to defend Ryanair.
I know, I know. It's the kind of revelation that's probably aged you fifty years, but there we are. This U-turn in apparent BW policy comes about because of British Airways; keen to plug the £401 million gap in their profits, and not content with asking staff to work for free for a month, BA have now decided to attack the budget airlines.
Our biggest beef with Ryanair is that their prices aren't transparent, that the cost of your flights may be a small percentage of the price you eventually pay; we don't think that's a particularly good way to do business and that is what BA are trying to highlight here. The result is the British Airways Value Calculator, which on the surface may prove what a ridiculously good deal you get by flying BA, but once you start picking away at their logic it does no such thing:
For example, Ryanair (and Easyjet) will charge passengers if their hold luggage is over 15kg; British Airways' weight limit is 23kg. So to skew the figures, the value calculator displays the additional charge you'd pay for a suitcase weighing 23kg on a Ryanair flight; the answer is a staggering £260. The point is that BA's baggage policy can be made to look equally stupid if taken out of context; BA will charge up to £90 per bag over your allowance on long-haul flights, whereas Ryanair (which operates flights lasting four hours) will charge you no more than £40 per bag. If you bag is over 32kg then BA can make you ship it as cargo, and if you're a single kilogram over their weight allowance, BA can choose to charge you an additional £25.
Ryanair's baggage allowance may be absurdly stingy, but if you choose to fly with them you abide by the rules rather than rack up £260 worth of charges on a single suitcase. And so it is with most of the examples BA cites; these aren't fixed costs, but costs that passengers can choose not to pay. If Ryanair want to sting you for an outrageous £40 to check in at the airport, doesn't it just make sense to check-in online?
Ultimately, people don't fly with Ryanair because of a 23kg baggage allowance, free coffee or polite staff, they fly because they have a semi-permanent sale going on and they fly to destinations other airlines (including BA) don't service - two points BA obviously fail to mention. When was the last time you picked up a return flight to the Mediterranean for under £50? Take the average cost of a flight into account, and BA's argument doesn't look as solid as their value MacGuffin makes out.
Of course we still despise Ryanair, their lousy customer service, the nonsense spouted by Sky Captain O'Leary and his attempt to rob you at every turn, but that hardly makes British Airways the white knight of the airline industry.