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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.

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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Comments (89)

  • Talay says:

    I have had routing completion issues but not from a fare perspective; I was ex NRT via BKK to LHR and stopping in BKK for longer than a non visa allowed number of days was a concern to the airline at NRT.

    As to this childish BA “directive”, then I honestly don’t see how they could enforce it. Evidence exists that they do not at present and unless they were to penalise every single no show, then you would have differentiation in policy which would be unworkable.

    The only way I could see it even marginally being more than a pipe dream is if a new ticket condition was introduced but can you imagine the chaos that would cause for the business sector ? Again, unworkable.

  • BA clamping down on missed final ex-EU sector - FlyerTalk Forums says:

    […] hearsay, I thought the below would be of interest to FTers: https://headforpoints.com/2015/07…ex-eu-tickets/ It's interesting that the author speculates that an immediate missed connection is less risky than […]

  • Loos says:

    I m not sure it is always the case but there is an alternative to that.
    While booking a flight to New York i was looking at different possibility, i noticed that the cheapest was taking a Return fly from Oslo or Luxembourg passing through London (300£) while the same flight from new york would cost around 450£. Now the interesting part is if that booking a multi destination LUX – NYC(via LHR) and NYC – LON cost me only 306£ while booking via American Airline.

  • Alan says:

    I think this is probably more an issue for those who live in London – I’d have to book a return to EDI from LHR anyway and once Little Red disappear that could only be with BA. Given that’s not an option if trying to miss your last leg then you’re stuck travelling to another London airport – personally I’d prefer just to enjoy the lounge and extra points, then connect on to my EU destination and home from there. AA are strict about denying FF points on their cheap Caribbean fares for those who miss the last leg and I agree that BAEC account closure is the most likely consequence, rather than court action. Personally I wouldn’t want to risk that given my Avios balance!

  • where2travel says:

    The strange thing here is that they seem to be going after the wrong group.

    So for my ex-FRA flight to HKG, I have deliberately but the final London-Berlin leg several months after the return flight to London. For a small fare increase, I get the start of a weekend away in Berlin when I want it.

    Presumably it’s those that book the same day final legs that are most likely to skip it, no? And that’s the scenario they’re not bothered about?

    • Brian says:

      Good point. As you say, if you weren’t intending to take the flight, why would you bother booking it for much later??

    • Rob says:

      The through-checking of bags makes it difficult unless you take the last leg from another airport. You can book Germany flights from City Airport though …

  • RB says:

    Interestingly I booked an ex EU with BA on Friday and noticed for the first time that in the email there was “A Very Important” message that stated that not checking your bags to the final destination could lead to additional charges being levied. It seems as though BA are attacking the practice from various fronts. Fortunately, the ticket rules allowed me a free stopover in London on the return and so for the first time I will be using the final leg – even if it is to start my next ex EU trip!!

  • Joe says:

    Hey BA (as I’m sure you’re reading), before you start worrying about this, can you sort out why it’s currently taking around 6 weeks to manually process a refund…

    • Mark says:

      Which is actually a breach of consumer law. They are legally obliged to process refunds within 30 days, if they don’t then take them to court, it’s the only way they will sit up, listen and learn!

      • JQ says:

        Well that may be so, but how many people would be happy to just wait for 6 weeks and get a full refund rather than having to bother going to court (which would incur some sort of costs even if BA ends up paying a bit more)

  • CV3V says:

    I’m surprised BA’s IT can handle this, given that it couldn’t sort out the correct procedure for managing the clocks going back in November for my ex KUL flight.

    I’m also surprised this is BA’s attempt to counter the middle east carriers. If I fly from Europe then its ‘direct’ to a middle east hub before onward travel. With BA it means flying back to Heathrow, enduring various delays, queues and a below average lounge experience, followed by using a business class product which can’t compete with the likes of Qatar. If I lived in Germany this isn’t how I would want to get to Hong Kong!

    • @alastairtravel says:

      I can assure you that the BA IT team can handle identifying this practice.

      The issue to me is what is enforceable.

    • Luke says:

      This is the point – if you were going to the trouble of taking an exEU, why go BA?

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