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BA to charge $470 for an extra bag

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Passengers flying with British Airways could face an additional cost of $470 if they choose to take an extra bag with them on a return flight.

The airline has announced that from February 13, 2007 the cost of checking in an extra bag on a one-way long-haul flight will be $235 (£120). Short-haul travelers will face a $118 (£60) per bag fee, while those taking UK domestic flights will have to fork out $90 (£42) for each additional case.

Passengers completing flights with the airline before September 30, 2007 can receive 30 percent off these fees by paying for them in advance through the company's Web site.

However, passengers will be able to carry one piece of sporting equipment free of charge.

Even if travelers in economy check-in two pieces of luggage below the weight allowance they will still have to pay for the second bag.

"This raises serious issues for older travelers," a spokesman for Help the Aged told the Daily Telegraph.

"For many older people it is important that they can travel independently. But many will not be able to manage one bag."

BA said passengers who had difficulty carrying a single bag would be allowed to check-in more than one case providing the overall weight was under 23 kg.

BA's changes follow similar steps taken by budget airlines. Last year Ryanair introduced charges for check-in luggage to cut costs and speed up the check-in process.

As Europe's third largest carrier, British Airways has claimed that the new luggage rules are part of a simpler policy to fit in with its vision for "the best airport experience" when the carrier moves to Heathrow's new Terminal 5 next year.

According to the Daily Telegraph, BA confirmed that its sales staff were instructed not to tell customers in advance when they booked their tickets.

A BA spokesman told the paper: "They will tell people if they ask about baggage policy. But it is on our Web site."

Reuters contributed to this report.


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That'll cost you: British Airways new excess baggage policy comes into force on Tuesday, February 13.

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