Should BA offer an easyjet style subscription model for economy passengers?

There’s been a lot of negativity against BA since they changed their service to buy onboard (for non business) on short haul flights. Is it time for BA to offer a membership scheme (Short Haul Plus) granting customers upto £25 off their short haul fares in return for an annual membership?

Unfortunately for the majority of consumers there is confusion by BA’s alignment to be competitive with the existing Low Cost Carriers (easyjet/ryanair/etc). Consumers fail to realise that BA offers lots of extras to loyal members and offer two classes. There are those who feel we should have a personal service (as BA used to provide) and for those there’s BA Business service to cater for that.

I offer you; BA Short Haul Plus, a membership programme for BA short haul customers (an example).

With BA short haul plus, we’ll reward you by giving you up-to £25 off our published short haul flight prices when you buy direct at and will also give you free seat selection (short haul flights only).

The model of membership is rewarding, especially if people infrequently use it. Here’s what the maths may look like;

Commercially there’s a few advantages, (a) in exchange for a direct booking the airline can save any commission and (b) the subscription itself will encourage people to book to get value, reinforcing value.

As a general rule the price between easyJet and BA is similar (when booked in advance), easyJet often starts very low, and gradually increases, where as BA has jumps. But BA does offer a hold facility which protects the price whilst you decide.

For the above example the flight search was for 7th October, 2017 to 14th October 2017.  There’s £35 difference (29%) between each carrier.  When you add a bag the difference becomes smaller (easyJet 20Kg hold is £42, BA is £34 for 23Kg), A £27 difference (20%)

Lets review the detail

Both airlines onboard service is much the same, they fly the same aircraft A320/A319.  I’ll admit easyJet are more experienced with pay onboard, and having only 1 class probably makes it easier – after all they’ve been doing this from the start. BA’s service isn’t bad (M&S Onboard) and obviously much more attentive in Business class.

easyJet cabin (new style)

BA cabin. (slightly older style without the BA branding on the seat)

BA give you more when you book more (lounge and upgrade rewards), but tier points are hard to earn short haul, but once you’re there you’ll typically try to keep it, and no doubt that’s why some passengers travel business, when its basically the same seat as economy.

If there’s a small difference in price I would rather book with BA vs easyJet. Don’t get me wrong I like easyJet, I’ve travelled on a number of flights, but I really don’t like the bag scrutiny, queuing down the stairs experience and bus to the airplane. I am willing to pay a bit more to avoid that (but only a bit).

If I were a regular easyJet/BA booker, then possibly a subscription for a reduction in BA fare would influence my decision towards BA. Much like as an easyJet plus passenger I would preference easyJet to get value from my subscription and to give me service closer to those of the Full Service airlines today (speedy boarding, pre-seating, bigger hand luggage allowance).