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

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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.

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

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 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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Comments (89)

  • 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!

      • Rob says:

        The logic is that you can afford to sell ‘incremental’ business at a discount only as long as core customers pay full.

  • Kiran says:

    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.

  • Joe says:

    It’s totally unenforceable. Good luck to them.

  • 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?

      • Rob says:

        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.

    • Rob says:

      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…

  • […] for Points says British Airways is going to crack down on the money saving practice of throwaway ticketing. He posits they are specifically interested in […]

  • Andy says:

    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.

    • Kipto says:

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