Three weeks ago I wrote about the new British Airways campaign to clamp down on travellers who buy tickets from another European country – because they are substantially cheaper than starting in London – but then fail to take the last leg from London to their starting point.
There was much discussion, both on here and elsewhere, about whether British Airways was serious.
Here is an email I received from a long-time HFP reader a couple of days ago. I have not edited it at all.
“You recently ran an article on a BA clampdown on the final leg of ex-EU flights. I have recently returned from the US and thought I would share my experience as is fits with what you described.
We had book a US flight ex Dublin arriving back in LHR and then connecting to Dublin. As a precaution had our return to London from Dublin booked later in the evening. I thought we would escape because the final leg was going to be the same day!
When we requested to have our bags put through only to London we were met with major resistance at the airport. The check in desk declined to do this and issued our boarding passes and referred us to the ticket desk. At the ticket desk they initially indicated that it would be a change of ticket and we would have to pay a price difference.
We were asked to prove we intended to take the flight to Dublin and they asked for the booking reference of the positioning flight to show that we were planning to fly and not simply going to miss the flights. The request was escalated to the back office and eventually they agreed to book the bags only through to London – security was also given as a reason for not wanting to permit this as well etc! It was made very clear that we were lucky they agreed to let us do this and that it would not be allowed again.
However as things worked out I needed to take the Dublin flight as a family emergency arose. (My colleague missed his connection.)
I share the above as it seems that there is a clear push to make sure people connect to their final destination when returning to another EU city on the same day.”
Whilst one example does not mean much in itself, it is worth bearing in mind. The only way to ensure that this does not happen to you is to book your final leg from Gatwick or City, or leave a gap of a week or month before taking the last leg – although this adds Air Passenger Duty to your fare and actually makes your ticket look suspicious.
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