26 April 2006 | Amon Cohen
The Institute of Travel Management has welcomed British Airway's latest overhaul of its short-haul fares structure, which will make it possible to amend economy tickets between purchase and departure.
The move allows travellers to make changes until midnight the day before departure. The cost for this amendment is £30 plus any increase in the fare since booking.
BA sells its short-haul seats in a series of so-called pricing 'buckets'. Once the cheapest bucket sells out, the next most expensive goes on sale. The latest restructure also sees the airline slash fares in the cheapest bucket on each route by 50 per cent. In addition, BA says it has shifted seven million seats into lower buckets.
"This is great news for corporate travel programmes in the UK," said Paul Tilstone, chief executive of the ITM. "There are a number of companies where travellers buy the most expensive fares in case they change their itinerary. This should have a significant impact on buyers trying to address that problem."
As an alternative to public fares, buyers can negotiate corporate fares with full flexibility, including the ability to cancel bookings. Richard Tams, BA head of corporate sales, said the public fares "are not necessarily a solution for everybody. Some clients will still want the flexibility of corporate deals."