Remember the old saying . . . “nice guys finish last?” Well, British Airways didn’t become one of the world’s largest international airlines, nor the most profitable, by being nice guys. And as BA continues to out hustle the competition, the real winners are going to be Canadian travellers.
The skies between North America and Europe will be crowded for the next six months and BA is not about to relinquish its role as a major player in the lucrative but increasingly competitive trans Atlantic market. In Canada, Canadian International and Air Canada, along with such charter biggies as Skyservice, Royal, Air Transat and Canada 3000, have increased both schedules and tantalizing discounts to lure customers. And just to keep the pot boiling, such foreign carriers as KLM, Lufthansa and others have also joined in the dog fight.
BA, with deep pockets and world wide financial clout, is countering with a variety of cost effective deals, including:
- Currency protection. No matter what the Canadian dollar does for the next 12 months, BA promises to stick with the prices listed in its newly published Travel Planner until March 31, 1999 no currency surcharges, as havbeen advocated by several airlines and Canadian tour operators. And that includes not only air fares but hotels, car rentals, tour packages and excursions.
- Early booking bonuses of up to $200 per couple for certain times of the year.
- Free car rental for one week, with unlimited mileage, plus maps and guide book available April 1 to June 30, Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, 1998. At other times, BA auto rentals start at $24 per day. For example, a compact for a week is $28 a day, $24 a day for a two week rental. Car rentals in the rest of Europe start at $31 a day.
- Three and six night London show tour packages. The three night package, which starts at $29 per day (if your flight is booked with BA), double occupancy, includes hotel accommodation, continental breakfasts, all service charges and taxes plus a pre theatre dinner and a ticket to one London show, and a backstage pass. This package runs from Dec. 27, 1998 to Feb. 28, 1999. For the July to August period this year, that price jumps to $189 per person, per day, still a bargain.
- A range of guided coach tours at exclusive prices for those booking a minimum two night’s accommodation in London. They include a half day tour of Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey for $23; a 90 minute open bus tour for $23, a tour of Windsor Castle for $54, and a self guided tour of the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Kew Gardens and the Banqueting House for $70.
- A Chunnel package that starts at $300 for travel between London and Paris, two nights in a central hotel, a city bus tour and a three day Paris Metro pass with a choice of 10 Paris hotels.
- European vacation options: Three nights accommodation, transfers, transit passes and city tours starting at $294 in Paris, $391 in Rome and $403 in Amsterdam. While in Paris, a full day tour to the Versailles’ palace and gardens is $120.
The list of bargains goes on and on. Travel agents across Canada now have the 72 page BA Travel Planner with details on all of the above bargains and a lot more besides.