In a last-ditch effort to stop people buying flights this weekend, British Airways has started ‘hate selling’ tickets from its Heathrow hub at artificially inflated prices across all of its short-haul flights.
Hate selling is different from the usual practice of standard dynamic pricing which reacts to supply and demand because the very point of it is to dissuade people from buying tickets rather than maximising revenue.
As reported by Head for Points, travel agents have been ordered not to sell any more tickets for British Airways short-haul flights on Friday and Saturday in order to meet capacity caps imposed by Heathrow Airport.
The ban may continue past Saturday and will make it easier for British Airways to rebook passengers who miss connections or are affected by last-minute cancellations onto alternative flights.
It’s this need to be able to rebook passengers that means British Airways has to offer flights for sale even if it doesn’t necessarily want any additional customers on its short-haul flights this weekend.
“For technical reasons, we’re simply unable to open British Airways inventory designed for passenger reaccommodation without the side effect of also enabling some minimal selling,” the airline told travel agents in an email on Friday that explained why tickets would still remain available on the airline’s own website.
“Pease be aware that the aim of this additional action is not to favour or drive last-minute sales via ba.com at a time when we’re operating within strict capacity caps and are encouraging customers to voluntarily move their travel plans to alternate dates,” the email continued.
The airline told travel agents that it would review the measure next week and lift the ban “as soon as we possibly can”.
Until then, short-haul tickets will only be offered in the most expensive ‘fare bucket’. Earlier this month, German flag carrier Lufthansa was forced to start ‘hate selling‘ short-haul flights for the exact same reason – artificially limiting capacity and opening up seats for disrupted passengers.
On Saturday, a one-way domestic flight from Heathrow to Manchester costs a staggering £599, while the short hop to Paris would set someone back £668.
Despite surging travel demand, British Airways revealed on Friday that it had been forced to limit capacity to just 69 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in Q2 due to what it described as a “challenging operational environment”. The airline hopes to increase capacity to 75 per cent over the next three months.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.