I am running two articles today based on reader experiences of flying British Airways long-haul by starting your trip in Europe.
This story, from reader Mark, is an example of how it can go (slightly) wrong:
“I did an ex-Amsterdam flight to Asia on British Airways earlier in the year which worked very well. I had left myself 3 hours in Amsterdam between landing and taking off. I did this with checked luggage and although my flight left London City 30 minutes late I still had time to relax in the lounge in Amsterdam.
Roll forward 2 months. With another trip planned, heading West this time, the very aggressive British Airways prices on offer out of Dublin were too hard to resist, especially as I needed to renew my silver membership. Working close to London City I again chose it as my departure point to get to Dublin.
I had been monitoring BA4466 which seemed to often depart late, but not enough to worry me given my 90 minute buffer. My flight departed City Airport a little late (20 minutes) but I still had enough time to check in for the flight back to Heathrow and have a couple of drinks/snacks in the terminal.
The flights to the US and back went smoothly. Because I wanted the tier points, I wanted to fly the last leg from London City to Dublin instead of dropping it.
I arrived at Heathrow in the morning. I went to work during the day and headed back to City Airport in the evening to catch the same BA4466 again. I arrived at City and the plane was running 30 minutes late – no dramas, I was still good on time. We eventually boarded the plane at just after 18:40 (my single unconnected flight left at 20:55). I was thinking that as long as we push back promptly I’m ok.
We finally took off gone 19:15 and I had a checked bag. We touched down just after 20:15 but we didn’t arrive at the gate and off the plane until 20:25. The bag arrived at the belt quickly (for BA) although I didn’t reach the check-in desk until 20:35. The BA desks were all clearly closed for the day, the check-in staff told me the gate was closed but still called the guy on the gate to see if they could let me on. The answer was No.
My Heathrow departure at 20:55 was a redemption ticket. The check-in staff (after duress) changed my ticket to the first departure in the morning – there was redemption availability but this may not have been an issue – and didn’t charge me.
I was then booked on the morning flight with nowhere to stay. British Airways said that the delay was <2 hours and not their problem. They were keen to preach to me about ‘allowing myself enough time’ etc etc.
Both of the Dublin airport hotels were booked so I found the cheapest B&B option via laterooms.com. In no mood to take public transport, I took a cab to the hotel and back.
This error probably cost me £100 which isn’t horrendous, just annoying. As the first Dublin to Heathrow flight doesn’t land until 8.45am (it actually landed at 9.05am) I was also 90 minutes late for work the next day.
These are the lessons I learnt:
Make sure there are at least three hours between your scheduled arrival time and your scheduled departure time.
Check the options if you miss the connection from the outstation. Is there another flight that day? Remember if it is your fault then BA are at liberty to charge you or cancel your onward ticket.
Where possible take hand luggage only – I probably could have boarded the 20:55 if I did. Check in and get the boarding pass on your phone.
Every flight I have taken from LCY has been delayed. It might be prudent to look at the historic delays of your routing.
Whilst not a particular bad experience I just wanted to highlight that it can go wrong and some of the measures you should consider when booking these type of tickets. This would/could have obviously been a lot worse if I had have missed the first leg of my ex-Dublin trip.”