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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 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)

  • Ian says:

    To be honest I really don’t care anymore, as soon as I have used my BA companion vouchers I’ll just stop using BA. For short haul, easyjet and other carriers suit me fine. For long haul, I’ve flown with Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, qantas and the service, entertainment and food has been always much better than BA. I only fly economy, so I couldn’t care less if they start doing this. After the Avios devaluation there’s no reason anymore to be using BA uncourteous service.
    Even the BA companion voucher is flawed for those, like me, travelling economy. I was last week looking at a redemption LHR – JNB for my 2-4-1 voucher and the price came as 41250 Avios + £ 708, meaning £354pp.
    For the same journey, on the same dates, I’d be paying £472 with Middle east carriers. So, what’s the point of going through the hassle of collecting miles to pay absurd taxes? It’s way more flexible just to buy a standard ticket with Emirates and the like. Unless you have a last minute issue and for some miracle are to redeem a ticket last minute, Avios are now close to useless.

    • czechoslovakia says:

      Those miracles occasionally actually happen. Managed to get a last minute Club Europe (last 1) MAN-PRG, only 3 days in advance last week. Cheapest economy was £400+ with anybody with seats, Easyjet / Jet2 were full. For once I feel I got value out of those 13k avios – cash price was £565!

    • Mark says:

      If you only travel economy the Avios ‘devaluation’ doesn’t affect you negatively. In fact if you travel ‘off-peak’, economy redemptions with BA require fewer Avios than before.

      That said if I only ever travelled economy I doubt I would be going out of my way to collect 2for1 vouchers. On a long haul flight you’re generally likely to find it cheaper to go with the cheapest cash fare and use any Avios towards hotel accommodation (or focus your collection opportunities elsewhere) than doing a flight redemption. That’s nothing new, in fact it is less true since April for off-peak economy redemptions.

      The best use of Avios for economy flights is short haul where a 2for1 is worth relatively little.

  • James67 says:

    BA are ludicrous, just another example of why EU needs to introduce further regulatiins to protect passengers interests. Also shows BA continue sleepwalking to disaster. The ME3 are here too, in the recent EY 30% discount you could get J seat UK-Asia for £1200 rtn including tax. If BA want to compete they should give ‘B’customers £1k fares too. Why should we pay more for what is a premium economy product with a privacy screen. My greatest hope is that Scottish Government halves or scraps APD as soon as they can do so, and the ME3 plus TK start offering sub £1* fares from here too.

    • Solo says:

      Interesting to see if Scottish Government scraps/reduces APD. We could be talking about ex-Scotland fares instead 😉

  • James says:

    It would be interesting to know whether this information came from people working for BA, or from a travel agency for example.

    • Sean says:

      Indeed. I really don’t see how they can make this stick against individuals. Travel agents are another thing altogether.

  • Marly says:

    If you really dont care about collecting avios but just want a ‘nice’ seat by flying CW, open an AA account and just don’t put your BAEC number into your booking. Period.

  • Cheshire Pete says:

    Out of interest, if your bags are checked thru and you ‘miss’ a connecting flight for whatever reason, don’t they get off loaded anyhow? What’s the procedure for then picking them up again? Anyone done this?

    • Mark says:

      No. Don’t go there – you’ll end up delaying the flight and give them a really good reason to come after you.

  • mse says:

    If you were worried surely you could use the free combine my avios to transfer your points out to Iberia or before undertaking any flight?

    I have an ex-Dub booked, and BA have already cancelled the final Dublin leg (actually they have cancelled or changed three out of four legs already!), and rebooked me onto an unworkable alternative 5 hours earlier, leaving from Gatwick three hours after I land in Heathrow. I don’t see that being possible by the time I get through immigration, baggage, get my car back out of parking, get to Gatwick, and check in and get through Gatwick security! Unfortunately, I think it will be their fault when I miss that leg and if they try to penalise me I can’t see it being legal. I booked a workable transfer and they have cancelled it!

    • mse says:

      Oh and should mention that is all in the morning rush hour following an overnight flight. Heathrow to Gatwick in Rush hour? No chance!

  • Nick says:

    Have BA offered any excuse for why it is cheaper to fly ex-EU? Common sense dictates that the people flying in from Frankfurt to London to get a flight to HK should be paying more than those who make their own way to Heathrow.

    It’s utterly bizarre.

    • Alan says:

      But they’re not targeting someone in London with these fares, they’re aiming for folk in Germany – given BA are offering an indirect service they have to make it cheaper to compete against direct services. Ex-LHR they feel that offering a direct routing is more appealing hence they don’t discount it.

      Of course for those in the regions who have to connect anyway then DOH or AMS seem perfectly appealing alternatives to LHR – as time goes on more and more will likely eschew BA as a result…

      • Nick says:

        I see – thanks.

        I agree with what you are saying. I was speaking to a friend in Scotland about the Qatar flights recently, and he realised that it is easier and cheaper for him to get to AMS than LHR anyway. This had only just dawned on him, so he now considers the major European airports to be easier starting points than LHR for his long-haul travel, so he’s just discovering a new world of cheap fares and options.

        • Fenny says:

          Pretty much anyone who lives outside London and doesn’t “need” to travel BA has already worked this one out. There was a piece on the radio last week about the rise of passengers flying from regional airports to EU hubs to get better fares. By the time the 3rd runway ever happens at LHR, most people will have forgotten it exists!

    • Jason says:

      I booked a QR flight last April, BRU-DXB( via DOH) 1015 € which is where I wanted to travel.
      Same BRU-DOH flight was 2500€ crazy 🙂

      • doug says:

        That’s more of a HIDDEN CITY than a throaway, although very similar
        I recently did a combination of both in one ticket
        had to fly MEX to BOG, but not only was it cheaper to buy MEX-BOG-LIM and get off in BOG, it was also cheaper to buy that trip roundtrip and not one way so I bought MEX-BOG-LIM/LIME-BOG-MEX and only used the first leg out of four
        Paid 400 usd instead of 900

    • Rob says:

      No, it makes perfect sense. Why would a Frankfurt resident choose to go via London when he can fly direct from Frankfurt? Because it is far cheaper.

      It works both ways. Price up FRA-HKG on Lufthansa vs LON-FRA-HKG on LH.

  • Ditching the last sector of your itinerary - Page 3 - FlyerTalk Forums says:

    […] discussion happening over at BA forum BA clamping down on missed final ex-EU sector [?]…ex-eu-tickets/ __________________ If a redemption is available online at or, why don't I burn […]

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