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British Airways goes head-to-head with Ryanair, Easyjet


British Airways is cutting itself in for a share of the London-to-the-beach leisure business that is the mainstay of the discounters such as Ryanair and Easyjet. The airline will begin specially-priced flights May 28 from London Stansted, an airport dominated by the discounters.

Using its CityFlyer subsidiary and a fleet of Embraer 190 jets (see above) with 98 seats in two classes, this will be BA's first Stansted service, and will fly to Faro, Portugal, and to Malaga, Palma and Ibiza in Spain. BA's service to those areas from other airports has dropped as the discounters have grown.

One advantage for British Air: it's seen as a kinder, gentler airline than the aggressive discounters, even though Ryanair has been working to change its rapacious reputation. A current survey by The Telegraph (UK) indicates that 81% of passengers would rather fly the Stansted routes with BA than with the others.

Normally, sticker shock over prices and fees might turn that number around, but BA is making concessions for these routes: its fees for choosing seats in advance will be waived, advance check-in and complementary refreshments are offered, and no debit card fees will be added.


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