British Airways is reducing average legroom by 1 inch per seat on some of the planes used for short-haul flights.
The airline is reportedly adding two extra rows of seats to its Airbus A320 and A321 planes, a total of 12 seats, reducing average legroom to 29 inches – the same as easyJet but an inch shorter than budget airline Ryanair.
A British Airways spokesperson said the decision was made to keep fares low.
‘From next year we’re making a small increase in the number of seats on our A320 and A321 fleets so we can keep fares low,
‘Customers fly with us because we offer quality and value in all areas.’
The reduced legroom in short-haul flights is expected to come into effect next year. It will affect BA routes from London Heathrow and London Gatwick to cities across Europe.
Earlier this year, British Airways stopped offering free food and drink on any short-haul services to passengers flying in economy class. Nick Trend, Telegraph Travel’s consumer editor, said,“charging short-haul economy class passengers for drinks and sandwiches removes the final distinction between BA and its low cost rivals.”
A business decision, but what makes BA stand out now?
Hannah Maundrell, editor-in-chief of money.co.uk, was quoted by Yahoo News as saying:
‘BA are playing a dangerous game if they’re trying to battle the budget airlines head on.
‘They should look to what’s happened in the supermarket sector before they make any further cuts.
‘Trying to compete with budget brands purely on price didn’t work there and I’m doubtful whether it will here either. Great customer service is what coaxes consumers into spending more and this is one area where BA simply can’t afford to compromise.’
Tory MP Will Quince, of the Transport Select Committee, told the Mail:
‘Of course it’s a business decision for BA to make.
‘But if they don’t now include complimentary food and drink, and have the same legroom, what is it that makes them stand out?’