An interesting market practice was put in place by British Airways shortly before this weekend. As a last-ditch effort to keep people from buying flights for Saturday and Sunday, the company removed a self-adjusting price rule in its systems to inflate them all.
As reported by Head for Points, travel agents were ordered to no longer sell tickets for short-haul British Airways flights on Friday and Saturday in order to meet capacity limits imposed by Heathrow airport. Remembering that the largest British airport suffers from a lack of employees in the height of the season, coming to be criticized for the “lack of planning”.
The ban, however, also has another purpose: to help British Airways keep seats free on its flights so that it can relocate travelers who have missed their flights in case of problems related to the “chaos” at London’s airport.
“For technical reasons, we simply cannot open British Airways’ inventory designed for passenger re-accommodation without the side effect of also allowing for some minimal sales.” the airline told travel agents in an email on Friday, which explained why tickets would still remain available on the airline’s own website.
“Please be aware that the purpose of this additional action is not to favor or drive last minute sales via ba.com at a time when we operate within strict capacity limits and encourage customers to voluntarily change their travel plans to alternative dates”continued the email.
The airline told travel agents it would review the measure next week and lift the ban “as soon as possible”.
Until then, short-distance tickets will only be offered at the most expensive price. On Saturday, a one-way domestic flight from Heathrow to Manchester was a staggering £599, while the short jump to Paris would cost £668.