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BA clamping down on ex-EU tickets – our first example?

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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.

British Airways 350 2

“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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Comments (101)

  • PantsFlyer says:

    Rightly or wrongly I’ve booked an Ex-Eu with the family in tow.
    We have the last leg on the day after we return to LHR, so I was hoping to avoid these issues.
    However even if it goes to plan these ‘rumours’ have had the desired affect, and I won’t have to stomach to book another Ex-Eu in the future.

  • MOHAMED MOUSTAFA SALEH says:

    It’s fine to me to join this program

  • signol says:

    Often booking ex-EU as an open jaw terminating in the UK is no more expensive than a straight return to the departure point.

    • Daniel says:

      Sometimes that is the case but others not – I recently tried to book an Ex-Eu ticket ending in London and it added almost 240 to the price quoted.

      • polly says:

        Daniel…Not bad though if you have saved 2k on the flights in the first place. …I now look at that option too. It might take the pressure off the return part.

  • Doreen says:

    BA have added this warning to ex-EU bookings in the last few weeks ….
    “Very important information
    If you do not check your bags through to your final destination you may incure (sic) additional charges”

    • polly says:

      Good spot. But if you have a different departure airport from London they can’t do a next day bag transfer? So technically you might not make flight for any number of reasons. .

    • Richmond says:

      This warning is absolutely non relevant if you change airport, do overnight stay or fly hand baggage only. It may be relevant if you don’t take last flight, your bag is offloaded from plane and it causes delays.

  • scibuff says:

    That is just dumb … if you not gonna take the last flight, don’t ask for having your bags short-checked. If the reader didn’t plan on flying the last segment, he should have had it moved for the following day so that there would be an overnight at LON. So simple an easy, instead of alerting the airline to the scheme … but what can one expect from people who have absolutely no idea about how tricks work but happily use them to save a $

    • Callum says:

      You being a prime example of such a person….

      Moving your connection to the following day can result in additional charges. You did a same day airport change to take advantage of this…

      • scibuff says:

        no it wont because a stop of less than 24 hours is not a stopover but a connection and as long as the flight has seats available in the required fare, the price will be the same.

  • Boddingtons says:

    As a side note, a relative who lives in Doha booked MAN-DOH-BAH with a 12 hour layover in Doha since it was cheaper than just MAN-DOH. Check-in agent at MAN refused to check bags to Doha only. The tried to claim they had a medical need for the bags to be retrieved upon arrival in Doha however they would not release the bags without paying the fare difference to get off at DOH.

    I think Qatar have a note in their fare rules citing that if layover in Doha is less than 24hours bags must be tagged to final destination.

  • Patrick says:

    Have booked from DUB to LA via Heathrow, on the return I understand that the chances of getting bags tagged just to LHR is slim. At Heathrow, if I was to clear immigration and go landside and wait until after the DUB flight (the last DUB of the day) had departed, then I would not have met conformance so bags should not have been loaded and cause no delay to the flight. If they offer to rebook me for the morning would they allow me to have my bags back overnight?

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