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The BA app is (accidentally?) overcharging for World Traveller Plus to the US

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I mentioned yesterday that a number of readers had been in touch about various BA pricing irregularities in recent weeks. Yesterday I showed how Avios redemptions in Economy were cheaper for inactive members of British Airways Executive Club.

The issue I am highlighting today is more serious. The BA app, at least in the iPhone version, changes the price of some flights based on the cabin you originally search for.

This does not happen with desktop searches – only with the app. It only seems to apply to flights to the USA.

World Traveller Plus

Put more simply …. if you search for World Traveller Plus, you will pay less if you originally search for World Traveller and not World Traveller Plus.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look.

You can replicate this yourself if you have an iPhone. My example is based around London to Los Angeles from 23rd to 30th November.

BA pricing for World Traveller Plus when I search originally for World Traveller

If I search for an Economy / World Traveller ticket, this is what I am shown. As usual with British Airways, you are shown the cabin you requested (in this case, Economy) plus the next two higher cabins where available.

Outbound options at £516:

Inbound options at £282:

Total price of £797:

BA pricing for World Traveller Plus when I search originally for World Traveller Plus

Let’s look at what happens if I decide in advance that I intend to fly World Traveller Plus and search for that. Note that these are exactly the same flights on the same day.

Outbound options at £661:

Inbound options at £282:

Total price of £941.02:

The price difference is exactly £144.

Why is this happening?

No idea. However, with BA, it is always best to follow the maxim of “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence”.

Here are a few thoughts:

  • This is not something that magically appeared yesterday. I was originally emailed about this over well over a week ago.
  • If you look at the fare breakdown, both show the same taxes of £486.02. The difference is entirely due to base fare changes (£311 vs £455).
  • Both tickets book into ‘T’ class, so this is not the cause of the difference
  • It doesn’t work for Business Class – the same price comes up (£1,653) irrespective of whether you search for World Traveller Plus or Club World
  • You cannot replicate this on desktop. The desktop price is £797.02, which implies that it is the app which is incorrectly pricing the World Traveller Plus ticket if you search directly for that cabin.
  • It only seems to apply to flights to the USA. Other destinations, even in North America, seem to price correctly in the app.
  • The price difference can be a lot wider than £144. Look at the same dates to New York JFK, taking the first flight of the day – the price gap is a whopping £304 (£656.02 vs £960.02).

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How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2021)

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There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

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Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (50)

  • Tim says:

    This is not something new, I have noticed it happening for a while; probably around 2 years. I assumed it was a bug and thought nothing more of it other than it being a bit less convenient to find the best price.

  • BS says:

    I had this issue when looking for LHR – Africa (connecting in JNB with Comair). It was always cheaper to look for economy and then click world traveller plus, than it was to click WTP to start with. This was on the BA website. I suspect this was due to secret buckets in Comair’s inventory(+/- matching the Comair bucket to the long-haul ticket conditions)

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