British Airways’ long-haul passenger squeeze from Gatwick starts in May

British airways

Passengers flying British Airways to Orlando next summer who value their space should avoid flying on Fridays or the first flight of the day on Saturdays. Those are the services which will feature BA’s new “densified” jets, with 52 more seats squeezed into the same planes.

The Independent revealed in November the airline’s plan to add an extra seat to each row of economy on Gatwick-based Boeing 777 aircraft. They will be 10 abreast, rather than the current nine across, which will continue on 777s based at Heathrow.

The news first emerged from a Capital Markets Day in which Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA’s parent company IAG, told investors the move would allow British Airways to “lower the average cost per seat, charge a lower price and stimulate demand”.

At the same event, BA’s chief executive and chairman, Alex Cruz, said the densification of the 777 would bring seat costs below Norwegian’s 787.

The summer 2018 schedule for the densified fleet is now on sale. The first planned departure using the high-density plane is on 7 May from Gatwick to Kingston. Through the summer, Monday and Wednesday flights to and from the Jamaican capital will use the densified 777s. For more elbow room, travellers should select the Friday departure.

Starting the following day, all three weekly departures from Gatwick to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic will be on high-density aircraft – as will all flights to Cancun in Mexico from 20 June 2018.

Travellers to the Florida cities of Fort Lauderdale and Tampa can avoid the densified aircraft by not flying on Thursdays (and, for Tampa, Sundays as well). But from 8 July 2018, every departure from Gatwick to New York will use the new configuration.

A test booking to Orlando made at revealed no difference in economy fare between a “densified” 777 and the current configuration, even though passengers on the latter will enjoy more space.

A spokesperson for British Airways said: “We are flying more customers than ever before to our expanding network of destinations.

“To meet this demand, we are updating our 777 cabins to bring us into line with many of our competitors and allow us to offer even more low fares.”

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