The airline confirmed yesterday that it would not be taking new bookings until August 15 – a week longer than was announced Monday.
BA’s unprecedented move will see thousands of chairs taken off sale and potentially increase demand and drive up prices with competing companies.
The biggest hit will be those who want to book at the last minute.
A direct flight from Heathrow to Barcelona this Saturday cost at least £650, compared to £295 the following weekend, according to flight comparison website Skyscanner yesterday.
Flights from Heathrow to Frankfurt cost over £553, compared to £248 the following weekend.
Experts said it was “quite possible” that ticket sales would be restricted for the rest of the summer, including the August bank holiday, due to the huge demand for holidays.
Guy Hobbs, editor of Which? Travel, said: “With further ticket suspensions possible, people should consider booking as early as possible to avoid last minute disappointments and overpriced fares.
“They should also consider alternative airports and airlines where possible.”
Heathrow Airport decided last month to limit the number of passengers during the peak season to 100,000 per day.
The loss of capacity will lead to thousands of seats being withdrawn from sale and the already high prices rising across the industry.
As BA is the largest airline at Heathrow, it is more affected by the limit than other airlines.
Aviation consultant John Strickland said BA’s short-haul flights would effectively be full in the next week, leaving “almost no room for maneuver to rebook passengers” in the event of unforeseen problems such as bad weather.
“It therefore has little choice but to withdraw seats from sale to protect this opportunity and sacrifice high price tag sales at the last minute.”
The limit on the number will remain in effect until September 11.
A spokesperson for BA said: “As a result of Heathrow’s request to limit new bookings, we have decided to take responsible action and limit the rates available on some Heathrow services to maximize rebooking options for existing customers, given the restrictions imposed on us. and the ongoing challenges facing the entire aviation industry.”
The cost of flying will rise as fuel prices continue to rise, said Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association (Iata).
Last month he said: “Flights are getting more expensive due to the high oil price and it’s becoming clear to everyone that that will be reflected in higher ticket prices.”
The price of jet fuel is about 82 percent higher than a year ago, Iata’s Jet Fuel Price Monitor revealed.
Passengers have faced a chaotic summer with canceled flights, winding queues at terminals and lost luggage.
A shortage of staff and an increase in travel after the easing of Covid-19 restrictions are the cause.