British Airways will soon have less legroom on short-haul flights than Ryanair

Ross McGuinness

British Airways will soon have less legroom on some of its short-haul flights than budget airline Ryanair.

The carrier is adding two extra rows of seats to its Airbus planes, which will reduce legroom from 30 inches to 29 inches.

That would make it one inch less than Ryanair and the same legroom as rival EasyJet.

A spokesman for BA said: ‘From next year we’re making a small increase in the number of seats on our A320 and A321 fleets so we can keep fares low.

‘Customers fly with us because we offer quality and value in all areas.’

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The added seats will provide space for 12 more passengers.

The move comes hot on the heels of BA’s decision to stop serving complimentary food to passengers on short-haul flights.

Since January, passengers on flights of five hours or less have not been served food.

BA said previously it would begin charging for food in economy seating on short flights around Europe to bring in more revenue.

Conservative MP Will Quince, from the Transport Select Committee, told the Daily Mail: ‘Of course it’s a business decision for BA to make.

‘But if they don’t now include complimentary food and drink, and have the same legroom, what is it that makes them stand out?’

Legroom on long-haul British Airways flights will remain at the industry standard of 31 or 32 inches.

The drop in legroom on short-haul flights, expected to being next year, will affect BA routes from London Heathrow and London Gatwick to Europe.

Hannah Maundrell, editor-in-chief of money.co.uk, said: ‘BA are playing a dangerous game if they’re trying to battle the budget airlines head on.

‘They should look to what’s happened in the supermarket sector before they make any further cuts.

‘Trying to compete with budget brands purely on price didn’t work there and I’m doubtful whether it will here either. Great customer service is what coaxes consumers into spending more and this is one area where BA simply can’t afford to compromise.’