British Airways clamping down on dropped final legs of ex-EU tickets

Historically, British Airways has been very casual about people who dropped the final segment on an ex-EU long haul flight.

What I mean, in plain English, is that if you booked a Club World ticket from Dublin to London to Somewhere to London to Dublin, BA would not cause you any trouble if you did not fly the final London to Dublin leg.

(Why would you book a ticket out of Dublin in the first place?  Because, given the right sale conditions, it could be 75% cheaper than starting in London!)

Two people, independently, told me last week that British Airways will begin to take a harder line.  Both of these people are very close to the situation.

The trigger has been the ludicrously cheap tickets to Hong Kong which British Airways is selling from Germany.  These are £1,000 return in Club World – the offer has been extended to this Friday as my other article today explains.  It appears that BA intends to continue to sell tickets at these prices to counteract heavy discounting by the Middle East carriers and Turkish, but needs to ensure it protects its revenue.

If the final leg of your Germany to Hong Kong ticket is a few months after the Hong Kong to London leg, be aware.  Your card is marked.  British Airways will be watching to make sure you take the final flight to Germany.

Hong Kong skyline

Anyone who booked the final leg for the same day or day after their return from Hong Kong has less to worry about.  Those tickets look real and there are many genuine reasons why an unexpected situation could detain you in London and meant you missed the last flight ….

If you do not take the final leg of a booked flight, BA has the right to reassess your fare and charge you for the cost of a Germany – Hong Kong – London ticket.  This would be a bill for a large amount of money.

This could all be ‘talk’ by British Airways, of course.  If you refused to pay their invoice, they would need to pursue you in court for the money and I doubt that they would want to risk a judgement going against them.

However, the two people who told me about this do not know each other and work at totally different ends of the travel spectrum.  Both have seen or heard this message directly from BA in the last week.

If you have a one-way ticket from London to Frankfurt showing in ba.com for next year, months after you return from Hong Kong, you may want to take a day off work and make a day trip.  You’d get the tier points and Avios from the Club Europe leg anyway so it is worth doing it!

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LAST DAY: British Airways World Traveller and World Traveller Plus sale ends today
British Airways £1,000 Club World flights from Germany extended
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Comments

  1. If you were worried surely you could use the free combine my avios to transfer your points out to Iberia or avios.com before undertaking any flight?

    I have an ex-Dub booked, and BA have already cancelled the final Dublin leg (actually they have cancelled or changed three out of four legs already!), and rebooked me onto an unworkable alternative 5 hours earlier, leaving from Gatwick three hours after I land in Heathrow. I don’t see that being possible by the time I get through immigration, baggage, get my car back out of parking, get to Gatwick, and check in and get through Gatwick security! Unfortunately, I think it will be their fault when I miss that leg and if they try to penalise me I can’t see it being legal. I booked a workable transfer and they have cancelled it!

    • Oh and should mention that is all in the morning rush hour following an overnight flight. Heathrow to Gatwick in Rush hour? No chance!

  2. Have BA offered any excuse for why it is cheaper to fly ex-EU? Common sense dictates that the people flying in from Frankfurt to London to get a flight to HK should be paying more than those who make their own way to Heathrow.

    It’s utterly bizarre.

    • But they’re not targeting someone in London with these fares, they’re aiming for folk in Germany – given BA are offering an indirect service they have to make it cheaper to compete against direct services. Ex-LHR they feel that offering a direct routing is more appealing hence they don’t discount it.

      Of course for those in the regions who have to connect anyway then DOH or AMS seem perfectly appealing alternatives to LHR – as time goes on more and more will likely eschew BA as a result…

      • I see – thanks.

        I agree with what you are saying. I was speaking to a friend in Scotland about the Qatar flights recently, and he realised that it is easier and cheaper for him to get to AMS than LHR anyway. This had only just dawned on him, so he now considers the major European airports to be easier starting points than LHR for his long-haul travel, so he’s just discovering a new world of cheap fares and options.

        • Pretty much anyone who lives outside London and doesn’t “need” to travel BA has already worked this one out. There was a piece on the radio last week about the rise of passengers flying from regional airports to EU hubs to get better fares. By the time the 3rd runway ever happens at LHR, most people will have forgotten it exists!

    • I booked a QR flight last April, BRU-DXB( via DOH) 1015 € which is where I wanted to travel.
      Same BRU-DOH flight was 2500€ crazy :)

      • That’s more of a HIDDEN CITY than a throaway, although very similar
        I recently did a combination of both in one ticket
        had to fly MEX to BOG, but not only was it cheaper to buy MEX-BOG-LIM and get off in BOG, it was also cheaper to buy that trip roundtrip and not one way so I bought MEX-BOG-LIM/LIME-BOG-MEX and only used the first leg out of four
        Paid 400 usd instead of 900

    • No, it makes perfect sense. Why would a Frankfurt resident choose to go via London when he can fly direct from Frankfurt? Because it is far cheaper.

      It works both ways. Price up FRA-HKG on Lufthansa vs LON-FRA-HKG on LH.

  3. wetboy1uk says:

    If BA are that concerned about it perhaps they should just offer tickets at the same price from and to the Uk instead of ripping us off. After all they are supposed to be ‘British’ Airways yet always offer much cheaper fares from other countries.

    • Callum says:

      If BA are concerned with British customers taking advantage of cheaper fares they should give British customers cheaper fares? I’m not sure I follow that logic!

  4. I wonder what happens if I have a ticket that is booked with QR but crediting avios/TP to BAEC? It is AMS-DOH-BKK-DOH-LHR-AMS and the last LHR-AMS sector is with BA and on the same day. One would think that BA wouldn’t care as this is a QR issued ticket.
    I short checked a bag last time with CX from BKK-HKG-LHR and the reason I gave was that I had medication that I had to take which is over 100ML and I didn’t want to bother getting that through security. I usually try not to check bags and I also hardly ever miss the last leg.

    • Calchas says:

      BAEC won’t know anything about what you do with QR except what QR tell them.

  5. It’s totally unenforceable. Good luck to them.

  6. Jake Malpeth says:

    Absolute crap. Even if they could do something just book through an agent and there is no way they can recover the money. Sounds a very ‘sponsored’ article to me…

    • Worzel says:

      ‘Sounds a very ‘sponsored’ article to me…’

      Why not do some investigation, and prove it?

      • The agent gets a debit memo from BA and has to settle it themselves or recover it from the client.

        Apparently, according to Flyertalk, Trailfinders is now refusing to handle ex-EU bookings for this very reason.

        We may think this approach is heavy handed. But what if BA’s new strategy is to match Qatar etc? What if, soon, BA will sell you CW flights to anywhere in Asia for £1,000 from anywhere in Europe where Qatar and Etihad are now entrenched? If that is the plan, they will need very firm revenue protection models in place.

    • Had BA sent me their new guidelines directly, I would have published them. As it happens, they didn’t. But other people did, so you still get to hear about it! The article would not have been any different, except the first line would have said ‘BA’s sales team sent me across their new guidelines for ensuring revenue protection on ex-EU bookings’.

      • Jake Malpeth says:

        Thank-you and good answer. However, I’m an Ex-TF Employee and for the commission they would certainly take the risk. On any published fare £1000+ in Biz they have to add £200 (but can deduct bits of commission they receive). Their is no threat of ADMs from BA to TF, as years ago TF stopped selling BA for a short period in protest of various QF/BA ADMs on RTW. After a couple of days the threat ‘suddenly vanished’. Surprising… They have a lot of bargaining power.

        I appreciate there is a risk, but I await to hear the first person charged with this…

  7. Did our first ex-DUB in ages a few weeks back…. needed to get to NYC for family reasons and it was booked on around 3 days notice.
    The short notice meant it would have to be in Y, and ex-LHR was a shade under £1000 rtn each. Ex-DUB? Under £450 rtn each. Burnt a few avios to get to DUB, time for a quick pint of the black stuff and a few hours hassle, but even so, for less than 50% of the cost, it is a no brainer.
    No issues short checking a bag on the way back either.

    The J fare was also significantly cheaper than ex-lhr, even on such short notice.

    • Just out of interest what was the Aer Lingus price for a return ticket to New York from Dublin ?

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