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

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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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Comments (56)

  • RT says:

    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?

    • bob says:

      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

      • RT says:

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

    • Rob says:

      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.

      • RT says:

        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….

  • oleg says:

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

    • bob says:

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

    • Rob says:

      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.