When another British Airways ex-Europe trip goes wrong …..!

Last weekend I ran two stories by Head for Points readers (here and here) who had booked British Airways long-haul flights starting elsewhere in Europe.  This saved them huge amounts of money, but for one reader it had not been entirely trouble free.

Some readers commented that the ‘trip which went wrong’ did not go badly wrong.  It was, after all, only the last leg back to Dublin which was a problem.

Reader Anto sent me his own story of a British Airways ex-Europe trip which went wrong.  This was potentially a far more messy situation, albeit that the problem was one of his own making!

British Airways 350 2

As Anto explained:

“A few weeks ago, I was travelling to Phoenix, AZ to visit my sister for her graduation. When booking the tickets, I found to no surprise that it was significantly cheaper to fly ex-EU than ex-UK.  As I was going to be playing gigs in Chester and Manchester either end of the trip, it made sense to fly out of Dublin and back into Manchester via Heathrow each way.

The (economy) flights were ticketed through American Airlines.  However, all of the flights were on British Airways planes except for one leg on US Airways (Phoenix to Newark) on the return journey. As I was only travelling with carry-on luggage, I booked myself a little £25 Ryanair flight from Manchester to Dublin to connect to the British Airways flight from Dublin I had booked.

Unfortunately, things got a little ‘messy’ after the gig in Chester, and I missed the flight to Dublin. Oops.

In the back of a cab racing me to Manchester airport three hours after I should have been there, I frantically searched for last minute flights to Dublin so I could make the connection. There were none. On arrival at Manchester, I ran to the American Airlines ticket desk and explained my predicament.

The AA staff were very sympathetic, and spent about forty minutes trying on their systems to somehow reticket me on a flight I could actually catch. This included phoning their call centre in the USA, who explained that because the ticket was originally booked in euros (being ex-EU), it simply wasn’t possible to reticket in sterling. All this time, I was watching the clock, aware that as soon as the gate for my flight from Dublin to London closed, the rest of my ticket would die. Not good.

After the American Airlines ticket desk admitted defeat, they suggested that I try the British Airways ticket desk a few feet away. The staff there were quite busy but, after I explained the situation to them, set about industriously poking at keyboards and picking up telephones. I detected a definite professional rivalry on the part of the BA staff (“Well, if it’s an American ticket, why can’t they just… *rolls eyes* anyway, let’s see what we can do…”), which I’m pretty sure worked to my advantage.

After twenty minutes or so of button bashing, the member of staff helping me managed to find a way to put me on the next Manchester to Heathrow flight, in time for my onward journey to Phoenix, albeit at a further cost of £200 (economy). At this point, as you may imagine, I was quite happy to pay.

I’m not sure of exactly what mechanism they used to swap out the Dublin to Heathrow sector of my ticket for this new one.  She assured me that it was quite unusual and that I should check at every airport I visited, on departure *and arrival* that I would be able to check in for the next leg of the journey.  This did not help my nerves much at all.

As it transpired, the ticket was just fine, and the rest of the trip went very smoothly; I even managed to grab a shower in the Galleries lounge in Terminal 5 thank to my airberlin Gold card, gained via a status match from Aegean!

The moral of the story is: don’t miss the first flight of your multi-leg ex-EU trip. I definitely got lucky – this story could have had a much, much sadder ending.”

Thanks Anto.  I think you were very lucky to get away with this one, to be honest!

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  1. Surely the real moral of this story is “don’t go out and get p****d the night before any flight”, and you’ll get to the airport on time! 😉

    • Ralph says:


    • -1 again, you get yourself to the airport that night, whilst mullered, stay at one of the many on-site hotels and buy yourself an hour on the right side of (minimal) sleep!

      • Not sure about that, if you can wake up to get on your flight, you can wake up to get yourself to the airport (unless it’s a 7am flight of course)

  2. What would be interesting to know (as this was an economy ticket), would be, how much of a saving over starting in London after paying the £200 ticket from Manchester to London?

  3. mikeact says:

    I’m still waiting to hear of a trip that went really,really wrong.This one was nothing really.

  4. Hmmmm. Point has been made already but this isn’t what I’d call “going wrong”. More of a “bloke gets p***ed and then gets really lucky” Story. I couldn’t have managed to do any of the ticket change with a hangover….I wouldn’t have got to MAN in the first place tbh.

    • Worzel says:

      Leo: ‘ I couldn’t have managed to do any of the ticket change with a hangover….I wouldn’t have got to MAN in the first place tbh ‘ .

      I suspect that Anto was at the pre-hangover stage?

      Certainly, there appears to be an appetite here for stories where things went seriously, badly, wrong.
      🙂 .

      • Jason says:

        I’m sure most of us have all missed a flight at some stage, it’s just we hope it doesn’t cost us too much to correct it. 🙂

        • Ralph says:

          Many, many years ago I missed one leg (the first leg) of a ten leg AA internal trip in the USA by choosing to drive Palm Springs to LAX, I had no idea then that the journey would be cancelled down. Anyway, still with no idea, I checked in for each subsequent leg and was given a boarding pass…that is until I can’t to check in at Mia for my flight home! The flight was full and there was no seat on the plane for me as my ticket ‘cancelled’ when I missed the first leg. It turns out that since there was capacity on each flight up until Mia, each agent ticketed me. Presenting a front of being understanding and seeking a sympathy vote I eventually found find myself upgraded to my first ever F flight! From economy 🙂 lesson learned though.

  5. AndyGWP says:

    The mention of status matching at the end reminded me I haven’t done my Marco Polo status match with GulfAir yet… looks like I’ve missed the boat on that one 🙁


    Suggestions of who else to try are welcome 🙂 Status matcher doesn’t have any “outgoing” success from Marco Polo to anyone else for this year 🙁

    • Guesswho2000 says:

      Same here, I emailed Gulfair to match my AA Plat back in March and didn’t even get a reply.

    • RTWflyer says:

      GulfAir replied to me within a couple of days last week saying they were not offering status matches. I’d also appreciate any ideas for my soon to be gone CX gold

  6. Aww, poor baby’s tax avoidance scheme didn’t work out

    • RIccati says:

      Except for that a unilateral Air Passenger Duty charge is a nonsense. Literally, a tax on the air consumed.

  7. exEUjunkie says:

    original itinerary
    all going well until return at PHX when flight to JFK cancelled, fortunately noticed immediately and were first in queue to be re routed by the US agents. Ended up PHX-LAS-LHR-AMS. Negative – loss of tier points , positive – AA’s 777-300

  8. Peter Taysum says:

    I’m glad to hear they don’t really go wrong. I’ve booked DUB to HNL.

    I’ve positioned from LHR to DUB on Club Europe via Avios overnight in Dublin.

    Then DUB to LCY to Shannon to JFK to PHX to HNL Business and First (overnight New York!)

    Back HNL to LAX to JFK to ZUR to LCY to DUB (overnight New York again!)

    Then Club Europe DUB to LHR and *shudders* DOMESTIC to NCL.

    Thanks to Rob’s advice about Maderia I’m just peeling from my holiday there (180 Tier points for 200 quid and 10000 Avios) so with my work flights Hello Gold when I get back

    I shall not raid the mini bar in any off my overnights, and will TRY to behave in the Big Apple!

    Aside. I’m now 5 tier points off Bronze. Is is worth doing something before I fly the above for status bonus on the outbound for Avios. Will my status go up to Silver before my return?

    PS I’ve never had ANY status so thanks to Rob and many of you I’m OVER THE MOON,

    Thank you,

    • You would get the Bronze member bonus (25%) but this is not worth the trouble and expense of taking a flight purely to earn 5 tier points.

      Your Silver status should flip over within 2-3 hours of taking the flight which gets you over 600 tier points so it should be good for your return leg.

  9. TERRI says:

    My AA business class ex EU trip from Dublin to Orlando with a night in Miami enroute went abit awry. Luckily I was travelling with hand luggage only which gave me added flexibility. Plus I have learned a lot reading this site about rerouting to reach your destination.

    Flew out of LHR at 7am on separate BA ticket to Dublin – arrived on time in Dublin to discover the AA 10am Dub-Ord, my first Eu leg, was cancelled and I was rerouted back to LHR to catch the 1pm Miami flight. The DUB-LHR plane had a technical fault and arrived 3 hours late, so I missed the Miami flight. T5 transfers queue was horrendous due to French ATC strike. After 90 mins waiting only flight with seats across Atlantic was BA 9pm to JFK. A hotel room in JFK was promised so I took the flight. The 9pm flight left 90 mins late.

    Arriving in JFK nearly 24 hours from first flight to Dublin, discover weather issues there have filled all local hotels and BA had not reserved me a room as promised. Further five hour wait at JFK and managed to get on first AA flight at 7am to Orlando without going to Miami. Arrived in Orlando very frazzled, actually 2 hours ahead of schedule due to losing my overnight stay in Miami!!!

    Plus side was I got EU comp from AA for the cancelled Dub-Ord flight and from BA for the technical delay which prevented me getting to Miami. It would have been nice not to have endured this very stressful day with no sleep for 36 hours but things can go wrong when travelling.

    I have since been back to Florida ex Stockholm without a glitch. I have upcoming trips to Orlando and Peurto Rico from Dublin so keeping my fingers crossed all goes well.

    • Lady London says:

      that’s what I call a trip going really wrong. Luckily it was one where you were protected and it wasn’t a case of missing your outward leg with no protection.

  10. signol says:

    Air Berlin would only match my A3 Gold to AB Silver…

  11. Lady London says:

    OT: does anyone know if lounge benefits and baggage benefits are extended in the time after your BA status level has technically expired, but the card you have has that longer date to the end of the following month? I need both benefits for a particular flight and want to know do I have to take the flight within the “real” validity of my status, or are the benefits given to longer date shown on the card if technically your status has dropped on the anniversary. Can anyone advise please?

  12. Speedbird_ABZ says:

    I have my first ex-Eu Biz class in a few weeks and it’s gone a bit wrong already.
    DUB/JFK is overbooked. I’m heading to LAX so they asked me to come off that one.
    I asked for via LHR direct to LAX on AAs 777-300 which are getting great reviews.
    Other option was via ORD on an old 767. Think I’ve done the right thing – I just don’t get pre-clearance

    • Jovan says:

      Having flown DUB-JFK on AA B757 and LHR-LAX on AA B773, I’d say the better seat/plane/service trumps not having pre-clearance.

    • AndyGWP says:

      I’ve had this phone call today about switching off the service to JFK — they also want me to hit ORD and the wife hates LHR so looks like i’m sticking with it or on the 767 (which looks alright on the photos, but has the DUB – ORD route not been refurbished?)

  13. Kipto says:

    What is redemption with avois like on the AA LHR-LAX-LHR route ?

    • Same avios requirement and much the same cash component as BA.

      • Unless you use AA miles in which case there is no fuel surcharge!

        AA tends to open up availability in peaks and troughs – a huge slug of F seats for the Winter came up a few weeks ago.

  14. James Yardley says:

    The DUB ticket switching to a MAN ticket would have been issued as an INVOL (involuntary) re-route which basically allows a ticketing agent to issue another ticket over the original itinerary.

    Just a word of advice for all these routings, if you are flying LCY-AMS-LHR-JFK for example and all with Oneworld alliance carriers, even if you are on seperate tickets, the alliance treats them as thru-check tickets if they meet the minimum connection requirements. Therefore if one of your flights around the EU is delayed and you miss the connection, you are protected under EU261 regulations.

  15. Iain2012 says:

    What are the chances of the amex BA Premium plus 25k bonus rolling over after 17th June?

  16. I have never understood this whole Ex-Eu thing as this is still all relatively new to me. Anyone care to explain? So essentially using this post as an example; Op wanted to fly to Phoenix but it was cheaper to fly from Dublin to LHR to Phoenix in order to save on taxes? But in order for him to do this he would have to take a flight from Manchester to Dublin to connect to LHR before going onto Phoenix?

    So on his return would it be Phoenix to LHR to Dublin then having to get a return Ryan Air flight BACK to LHR from Dublin?

    If you were going for say over a week where you can’t travel without checked luggage and need to pay for checked luggage for both your return legs to and from Dublin coupled with the aggravation of extra travel time and inconvenience – what is the realistic saving here?

    • In club or first, significant savings, could easily be more than a grand and even in economy a monkey

      don’t forget you save both on duty and on (disproportionately) cheaper ticket price

      • AH I presume this is for cash tickets? For avios bookings not so much?

    • Depends when he booked. A friend just booked an ex-Dublin in Club World to the US for a touch under GBP 1,000 – from London, BA wanted more than that for an economy seat on the same flight.

    • Polly says:

      Hi RT, some of us have saved up to £1500 per ticket going J ex EU . Using BAEC avios to get to Dublin and back gives you full baggage anyway, plus if you are ow Sapphire you get your extra bag. Def worth it for us last year, and again going ex EU on QR to Asia in October from CPH, saving well over 1k pp, and almost gaining sliver, which we both need from September, timing Perfect actually. Def worth the effort, and yes you lose an extra day either side of main holiday, but it also gives you a day in another EU city to explore. Have a read of a few previous posts to get the feel of it. Best advice is to overnight before and after in your ex EU city, just so you don’t risk missing the flight back to LHR or LCY. Also great if you are chasing tier points stateside, by doing a JFK LAX route as it counts as F tier points. Lots to read up on, it seems…. Good luck.

      • Thanks for all the replies. Definitely a lot more learning!

      • AndyGWP says:

        JFK – LAX @ F tier points is only if it’s two class though right? 🙂

        We’re on one of the snazzy new A321T’s that does that route, so it is three class and we therefore get tier’s in business instead – can’t grumble though! 🙂

        • Polly says:

          Correct, but a lot of them are only two class, depends how you luck out… But still nice to get any extra TP….

  17. Can someone please clarify what ex-Euro means in relation to flights?

    • Leaving from a country in Europe (ie not from UK)

    • It is the process on buying a British Airways ticket starting in a European country instead of London, to be benefit from the fact that BA charges substantially less (and has less onerous cancellation and change rules) when starting outside the UK.

      So, for example, London to Pheonix in Club World in July may be GBP 2,500 whilst Dublin to London to Pheonix in Club Europe / Club World may be around GBP 1,000. You must, though, fly to Dublin to start your journey – you CANNOT skip the first leg and just get on in London, your whole ticket will already be cancelled by that point.

      As well as cheaper fares, you also earn more Avios and tier points because of the extra flights.