British Airways (BA) says it will cut prices for passengers who travel with hand-luggage only.

The airline claims travellers will see, on average, a 9 to 15 fall in prices, depending on the route. Passengers wanting to check a bag in will pay the same prices as they do now.

The move, which began yesterday, is being trialled on selected short-haul flights from Gatwick to Amsterdam, Dubrovnik, Jersey, Tunis and Turin.

BA says it plans to eventually include all its short-haul flights from Gatwick, but cannot give a date on when that will be.

The new policy will bring the airline's short-haul flights into line with budget rivals such as Ryanair and Easyjet.

Budget airlines advertise a base price without checked luggage, and passengers pay more to book checked-in baggage.

British Airways' Gatwick director Peter Simpson insists: "Those who still want to check in a bag will simply pay the same price they do now."