Ex-Mainland Europe Travel Planning Guide

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Baggage issues
Can I check my luggage in before my positioning flight?
It isn't guaranteed. You can certainly try, and many FTers have done this without issue, provided the longhaul sector is in Club World or First, or you have at least Silver/Sapphire status. But there is a risk the agent won't let you do this before the first leg. See this post for more options and ideas:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/27654059-post328.html
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Old Dec 27, 13, 1:14 pm
  #1  
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Arrow Ex-Mainland Europe Travel Planning Guide



i Preface
The Ambassador team has creating this guide in response to the often asked questions that arise whenever we plan our travels originating from Mainland Europe. As you can see it is still a work in progress but we feel there is sufficient meat to the bones to launch the thread. So please bear with us while we work on the remaining chapters - these are displayed in grey in the list of contents immediately below.

If you'd like to add your own experience or wisdom, your contribution would be most welcome.

ii Contents
Introduction
Advantages and potential pitfalls
Turn-around points in Europe
AMS Amsterdam Schiphol
ARN Stockholm Arlanda Terminal 2
ATH Athens
BCN Barcelona Terminal 1
BGO Bergen
BRU Brussels
DUB Dublin Terminal 1
DUS Dusseldorf
EDI Edinburgh
FRA Frankfurt Terminal 2
GLA Glasgow
GVA Geneva
HAM Hamburg
HEL Helsinki
IST Istanbul Ataturk
LIN Milan Linate
LUX Luxembourg Terminal A
MAD Madrid Barajas Terminal 4S
MXP Milan Malpensa
OSL Oslo
RTM Rotterdam The Hague
SVG Stavanger
TXL Berlin Tegel
WAW Warsaw
Starting points further afield
Middle East
Sri Lanka
Travel planning essentials
Working with ticket rules
ITA matrix and working examples
Baggage interlining etc
Planning positioning flights
Using Reward Flight Savers
Regional UK feeders (Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Easyjet etc)

iii Acknowledgments
This guide is a collaborative effort, and could not have been produced without the kind contributions from BahrainLad, corporate-wage-slave, Dave_C, dunk, DWFI, Lucanesque, and stifle. Additional thanks are due to dnw, pauldb, and Raffles for paving the way, and of course to everyone who has contributed on this subject in the BA forum.

iv Related threads
Back-to-back / Immediate Turnarounds at BA Destinations
BA Tier Point Runs | 2015 master thread
BA Lounge Database | Europe

Last edited by Prospero; Oct 24, 17 at 3:42 pm Reason: add Bergen, Oslo, and Stavanger
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Old Dec 27, 13, 1:22 pm
  #2  
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Introduction

This short guide is based on what was written by dnw who many year ago pioneered the use of ‘ex-LIS’ fares (i.e. fares which began by flying from Lisbon) on the BA Board. The ex-LIS deals themselves have now ceased to be so attractive but the principle remains and does apply to other European cities. Thanks to a tool originally posted by pauldb and a process honed by Raffles, this guide should still explain everything you need to try and take advantage of this (perfectly legitimate) approach to getting cheaper premium travel.

What's all this about cheap BA premium fares from Europe?
The worst kept secret on the BA board…if you want to save thousands (literally!) on J (Club World) and F (First) travel on BA to a number of destinations just by doing a quick roundtrip to somewhere in Europe first, read on…

Although this guide will often use AMS as an example, by virtue of it's connectivity to UK regional airports and across Continental Europe, the principle applies to many other cities. At present, the cheapest starting point for an ex-EU trip is often Milan or Amsterdam – but where you see the word AMS here, substitute wherever is currently cheapest. You’ll learn where to find the cheapest point later.

Whilst currency fluctuations between GBP and the Euro can diminish the general savings to be made from starting on the Continent, BA still offers some very good deals to those starting from European destinations when travelling long haul – primarily to entice them away from more direct options.
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Old Dec 27, 13, 1:23 pm
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Advantages and potential pitfalls

What is the catch?
There isn't one! Instead of paying, say, £3000 for a semi-flexible Club World ticket LHR-LAX-LHR, you can buy one for less than £1,500 if you start your journey in AMS instead of LHR. Of course the cheapest fares are I class Club World fares which are generally available during BA sales, so it pays to check the forum for active Continental Europe sales and promotions. You simply need to buy a cheap one-way ticket to AMS first. You can also, for a fee, build in a stopover in London – so you could, for example, fly to AMS for a weekend break in August (using the first leg of your LAX ticket for the return) and then do the LHR-LAX leg in September.

The only catch is that you MUST MUST MUST start your journey in AMS! You CANNOT discard the AMS segment and just turn up for the longhaul at LHR. If you skip the first segment of your ticket BA will automatically invalidate your entire trip (and don’t go crying for a refund either, this is just one of the rules!)

However, you don't need to take the final segment back to AMS if you don’t want to. If you are on a J ticket (where stopovers are chargeable) and are worried about BA wanting to check your bags all the way through to AMS and you’re coming off a longhaul flight at LHR, then book your return segment back from LGW instead. In these cases, the LHR/LGW transit means they CAN'T through check your bags. Booking the last leg ex-LGW will make the ticket slightly cheaper as the airport service charges are slightly lower than LHR. Conversely, booking the last leg ex-LCY will make the ticket slightly more expensive. If you cannot book your last leg from the ‘other’ airport, you may want to book it for the next day (but less than 24 hours from arrival, so it is not treated as a stopover). This gives you far more leverage with BA if check-in at, say, LAX try to insist – incorrectly - that you must check your bag to your final destination.

That said, BA do appear to audit the use of tickets, and may get in touch if you’re doing this a lot. Once or twice in a while should be fine, but if you plan on doing this frequently then you may wish to use all sectors in your ticket (if nothing else to start your next trip off!).

If you are on an F ticket then a neat trick is to take advantage of the free stopovers and book your final LHR-AMS segment a long time in the future – you can then use this to get down to AMS to start your next trip!
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Old Dec 27, 13, 1:23 pm
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Turn-around points in Europe

The posts below provide some guidance as to what you can expect when arriving and turning around at a selection of Continental European airports. Whilst neither Edinburgh and Glasgow offer cost effective starting points they have been included since many of us ask about the ease of using these airports as turn-arounds. Newcastle, Manchester, Aberdeen and Belfast are the same as Edinburgh and Glasgow. Leeds/Bradford and Isle of Man are out through normal exit and back in through security, but 10 minutes will cover.
AMS Amsterdam Schiphol
ARN Stockholm Arlanda Terminal 2
ATH Athens
BCN Barcelona Terminal 1
BGO Bergen
BRU Brussels
DUB Dublin Terminal 1
DUS Dusseldorf
EDI Edinburgh
FRA Frankfurt Terminal 2
GLA Glasgow
GVA Geneva
HAM Hamburg
HEL Helsinki
IST Istanbul Ataturk
LIN Milan Linate
LUX Luxembourg Terminal A
MAD Madrid Barajas Terminal 4S
MXP Milan Malpensa
OSL Oslo
RTM Rotterdam The Hague
SVG Stavanger
TXL Berlin Tegel
WAW Warsaw
If there are any airports not covered but you think ought to be, please post your own recommendations along with any useful logistical guidance. We can add these as we go. For more information, see http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/briti...ations-13.html

Last edited by Prospero; Aug 20, 15 at 11:39 am Reason: Add BGO, OSL, and SVG
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Old Dec 27, 13, 1:25 pm
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AMS Amsterdam Schiphol



Terminal facilities
  • Wifi: free session capped at 60 minutes.
  • Toilets: main concourse and others accessible from with the Schengen gate cluster.
  • Smoking: designated smoking area within Murphy's Bar near Gate D10. The walk alone is about 8 minutes there and back.
  • Food/beverage/book shop: main concourse, so its a long walk (12 min there and back)
  • British Airways Lounge (Lounge 40): as its a good 20 minutes walk to the lounge and back, visiting the lounge is not advisable if you're doing an immediate turn-around.
  • Terminal map [flash]

Variables
  • While BA flights usually use Gates D26-D31, other D gates are occasionally used.

FT back to back turn-around rating: Excellent
FT airside transfer rating: Good if non-Schengen, Reasonable if Schengen
FT landside transfer rating: Poor

Last edited by Prospero; Aug 16, 15 at 4:13 am Reason: Update security arrangements
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Old Dec 27, 13, 1:27 pm
  #6  
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ARN Stockholm Arlanda Terminal 2


There is much quicker option. The arrival gates at ARN have a direct door for back to backs. Just as you come off the aircraft there is a glass door and buzzer which allows you back into the boarding area, bypassing security and passports. While this option reduces the transfer to 5 minutes, you miss the lounge experience which is between security and passports.

Terminal facilities
  • Wifi: complimentary service
  • Toilets: before passport control and several clusters located off the main concourse at Gates 62, 64, 68, and upstairs next to the smoking area
  • Smoking: designated smoking area upstairs above Starbucks
  • Menzies Aviation lounge located on the upper level
  • Terminal map

FT back to back turn-around rating: Excellent
FT airside transfer rating: Good
FT landside transfer rating: Reasonable (arriving pax should watch for sign to gates 70-82)

Last edited by Prospero; Jan 4, 14 at 9:36 am
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Old Dec 27, 13, 1:28 pm
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ATH Athens



Very easy to do a turn around there, however you do need to be prepared with your return boarding pass.

When you arrive on stand, you'll be on a jet-bridge, off the aircraft and down an escalator. Turn right at the bottom of the escalator and follow everyone towards to the end of the corridor, perhaps another 50m of walking. At the end, normal arrivals will turn left, however as a connecting passenger you need to turn right. You then need to turn right again, and there is an immigration and boarding pass check. The police officer will ask where you're travelling to, just say London, show your boarding pass, and then you'll be told to head back up the escalator which will take you into the departure lounge. All of the shops and the BA lounge are outside of security, so within ten minutes of landing, you can be back in the lounge. They call boarding in the lounge, but it can get busy so might want to go a few minutes earlier.
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Old Dec 27, 13, 1:29 pm
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BCN Barcelona Terminal 1



Dedicated security and passport check for transit passenger to both sides of the main passport check for exiting passengers. 20 minutes, mainly due to the length of the walkways rather than any queues

Terminal facilities
  • Wifi: 15 mins free Kubi Wireless service
  • Toilets: there is no shortage of public toilets
  • Sala Mirů located on Level 2 below Gate D21
  • Terminal map

FT back to back turn-around rating: Good
FT airside transfer rating: Good if non-Schengen, Reasonable if Schengen
FT landside transfer rating: Reasonable

Last edited by Prospero; Jan 4, 14 at 9:37 am
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Old Dec 27, 13, 1:29 pm
  #9  
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BGO Bergen


Arrivals decant into departure hall. Fool proof although flight timetable is slim (2 flights daily)

Terminal facilities
  • Wifi: free session capped at 120 minutes.
  • Toilets: main concourse near departure gates.
  • Food/beverage/book shop: Duty free, Simply Good cafe, and Pronto Pronto newsstand located in the international gate area

FT back to back turn-around rating: Excellent
FT airside transfer rating: Excellent
FT landside transfer rating: Excellent

Last edited by Prospero; Aug 16, 15 at 9:40 am
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Old Dec 27, 13, 1:31 pm
  #10  
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BRU Brussels



No passports, but security (with fast track) and a long passageway to get to it. 30 minutes is conservative. BA lounge 5 minutes and close to usual boarding gate airside.

Terminal facilities
  • Wifi: 30 mins free
  • Toilets: several locations
  • BA Galleries Club located above Gate B30
  • Terminal map

Variables
  • For anyone attempting BRU and seeking some comfort, there seems to be a preference for BA flights to use B04, which is the closest gate to security/start of the pier, but subject to the occasional use of coaches/remote gates


FT back to back turn-around rating: Good
FT airside transfer rating: Reasonable
FT landside transfer rating: Poor

Last edited by Prospero; Sep 11, 16 at 1:50 am Reason: Update BRU
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Old Dec 27, 13, 1:33 pm
  #11  
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DUB Dublin Terminal 1



Transfer channel, go up the stairs next to baggage belt 2.

Terminal facilities
  • Wifi: complimentary service (Dublin Airport Free WiFi or eircom)
  • Toilets: in the baggage hall and elsewhere around the airport
  • DAA Executive Lounge at the upper level towards Pier C. Turn left after security and go up the stairs or lift

FT back to back turn-around rating: Good
FT airside transfer rating: Good if Common Travel Area, otherwise Reasonable
FT landside transfer rating: Reasonable

Last edited by Prospero; Jan 18, 14 at 12:04 pm Reason: Additional notes. Thanks stifle
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Old Dec 27, 13, 1:34 pm
  #12  
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DUS Dusseldorf


With recent reports of BA flights using remote stands (Summer 2015) and consequently coaching to/from the aircraft combined with a risk of congestion at Border Control, the back to back rating has been adjusted from Excellent to Poor. See kt74's post here

FT back to back turn-around rating: Poor
FT airside transfer rating: Excellent if non-Schengen, Good if Schengen
FT landside transfer rating: Good

Last edited by Prospero; Aug 17, 15 at 4:04 am
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Old Dec 27, 13, 1:39 pm
  #13  
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EDI Edinburgh



Exit the airbridge. Take a seat. Then re-board. It really is that simple

Terminal facilities
  • Wifi: complimentary service
  • Toilets: opposite Gate 4 and Gate 13 (entrance behind the pub)
  • Food/beverages/book shop: multiple options
  • British Airways Lounge: 3 minutes to/from the gate
  • Terminal map

Variables
  • Early boarding on your flight up to EDI is recommended to ensure your hand luggage does not get gate checked.
  • Occasionally you land on a remote stand which involves deplaning by steps being funnelled straight into baggage reclaim. In which case you need to reclear security, adding approx 15 minutes to the turnaround.

FT back to back turn-around rating: Excellent
FT airside transfer rating: Excellent if domestic, otherwise Reasonable to Poor
FT landside transfer rating: Reasonable to Poor

Last edited by Prospero; Jan 18, 14 at 12:03 pm Reason: Add note about remote stand arrival - thanks stifle
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Old Dec 27, 13, 1:41 pm
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FRA Frankfurt Terminal 2



Security check only, risk of bus transfer, no passports. Can be 10 minutes (airbridge and good security); can be 30 minutes (bus and lousy security). Fast track security but often useless.

Terminal facilities
  • Wifi: 30 min free Fraport service.
  • Toilets: Various locations along the route, including after security
  • Food/beverages/book shop: No refreshments after security. Multiple options before security
  • JL Sakura Lounge: 5 minutes from security and close to arriving gate and does not add much extra time on back to backs
  • Terminal map

Variables
  • For FRA, the nightstopper is always a bus gate
  • BA902/903 912/913 usually gets an airbridge
  • LCY is always a bus gate

FT back to back turn-around rating: Poor
FT airside transfer rating: Poor, particularly coming off Schengen
FT landside transfer rating: Reasonable

Last edited by NWIFlyer; Jan 10, 17 at 2:45 am
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Old Dec 27, 13, 1:46 pm
  #15  
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GLA Glasgow



Like EDI, exit the airbridge. Take a seat. Then re-board.

Terminal facilities
  • Wifi: complimentary service.
  • Toilets: at Gate 24
  • Food/beverages/book shop: Cafe and WHSmith
  • British Airways Lounge: 3 minutes to/from gates
  • Terminal map

Variables
  • Early boarding on your flight up to GLA is recommended to ensure your hand luggage does not get gate checked. Its a long winding trek from the gate to baggage reclaim and you'll need to clear security on the way back to the gate.

FT back to back turn-around rating: Excellent
FT airside transfer rating: Excellent if domestic, otherwise Reasonable to Poor
FT landside transfer rating: Reasonable

Last edited by Prospero; Jan 4, 14 at 9:43 am Reason: Bogs at G24 are back in action
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