British Airways has imposed a higher fuel surcharge on business and first class passengers than those in economy for the first time.
BA raised the one-way surcharge on premium passengers flying more than nine hours by £24 last Thursday, taking the total to £266 return compared with a surcharge of £218 return in economy. The fuel surcharge on premium economy fares on the longest flights has also risen by £12 each way to £242.
The airline made an across-the-board increase in fuel surcharges at the beginning of this month – the third so far this year.
BA said the move would reflect the greater amount of fuel burned per premium passenger on long flights. The airline informed travel management companies and corporate clients of the move by letter, but made no formal announcement.
Chief executive Wille Walsh justified the higher surcharge by saying it would fall on “passengers travelling in cabins with fewer seats, using more space and benefiting from larger baggage allowances as we burn more fuel per passenger to fly them”.
Rival Virgin Atlantic first raised the idea of different fuel surcharges for business and and economy passengers in May. Fuel prices have doubled in the past year and BA warned last month that the current price would wipe out profits.
All fuel surcharges are included in headline fares and only shown separately in a breakdown of the price. BA began imposing fuel surcharges in 2004 at a time when they could shown separately and then added to a fare, a practice the Office of Fair Trading a year ago.