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Find me a good British Airways fare - ticket clinic [Beta / draft: BA FARES ONLY]

Find me a good British Airways fare - ticket clinic [Beta / draft: BA FARES ONLY]

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Old Feb 23, 20, 4:08 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Welcome to the Find me a good BA fare ticket clinic.
This is essentially for BA / BA codeshares and partner only. If your booking is essentially on Qatar, Qantas, AA or anyone else, please go to those forums and pursue the matter there. These forums have good subject matter experts to hand.
- Please avoid very vague questions. Specific questions get specific answers. Give exact dates, start point, end point, what flexibility you have.
- As a courtesy to the other forum members, please at least read some of the advice in the posts above, and find one fare as a start point. It's a lot easier to provide constructive feedback that way.
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Old May 27, 19, 5:01 am
  #1  
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Find me a good British Airways fare - ticket clinic [Beta / draft: BA FARES ONLY]

1) Introduction / clinic guidelines

THREAD STATUS: Beta version - by all means pose any questions about fares at the end, but can our super super-users kindly review the contents and make suggestions? Including any typos. We will then tidy up the inputs and restart the thread in a more finalised version. Note some areas are deliberately fairly terse, they are often covered better by other threads and the purpose here is to introduce the idea rather overwhelm FTers with excess detail.

Welcome to the "Find me a good BA fare" clinic style thread!

The purpose of this clinic thread is exactly as the title suggests, to get you a good fare on BA services. It's intended for those new to Flyertalk or new to fare research, it's intended to help those who are much more experienced too. We aren't bothered about motives here, whether you want the cheapest fare to visit your Aunt Lucy in Darkest Peru or a cost effective way to get a few tier points.

What this clinic is not about:
- the latest sale, mistake fare or other promotion: this is for day to day travel, there are other threads that cover these areas
- the latest amazing tier point deal, again there is a dedicated thread for that.
- unusually for this forum, we are not fixated on premium cabins - so World Traveller (economy/coach) travel is very much in scope here.
- we are, however, fixated on British Airways!
But if you simply want to fly to (e.g.) Lima, and maybe you have found a fare but it seems a bit expensive, then this is the thread for you. Also if you are struggling to make a booking at a price you have paid before, and don't know why, then again we are here to help you. This thread is deliberately not about tickets that are essentially on other airlines, such as Qatar or AA. See section 12 for some links that may be of interest.

The next few posts give you
- some easy ways to find a good fare
- some more specialist places to check
- what you can do to make a fare more cost effective, including third country itineraries
- a small amount of advice on "eligible flights" and tier points, which are both needed for status levels in the BA Executive Club (BAEC).

Now we've tried to put the easy material at the top. We recognise you may not have the time or capacity to go through all the ideas here. And air fares are a very complex area at the best of times. So by all means join up with us on Flyertalk (if you are lurking!) and post your own question. Hopefully some other FTers will give you some friendly helpful and specific advice. However we do ask that you
- at least do a bit of reading in this thread, so perhaps run through the first few posts
- you try out some of the ideas and come up with at least one specific fare
- that you share the details on the dates, start and end points and indicate what flexibility you have in changing these anchor points. Plus whatever fare you have found so far even if - perhaps particularly if - it looks ridiculous. In other words a vague, open ended question, devoid of research or specifics is unlikely to get you very far.

Thank you
Thank you for reading and contributing to this thread. The following people assisted with at least a paragraph of advice here, we are very grateful to those who have taken the time to share their insights: Blackheathflyer, Getafix, LTN Phobia, NWIFlyer, orbitmic, PETER01, Prospero, willsnun

Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; May 28, 19 at 3:27 pm
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Old May 27, 19, 5:02 am
  #2  
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2) Basic ways to find a good fare

This section gives some simple hints as to how to use BA.com and the App to help you get a good fare. There are ever more complex ways to drill down on this, itemised below, but not everyone will have the time or enthusiasm to do that. And that's fine, indeed some good fares are best found through BA's website or App, going elsewhere may be a waste of time.

2.1) Standard searches on BA.com
BA.com's functionality is currently (June 2019) somewhat flaky at the best of times, but there is no shame in starting there. Particularly if you know what you are looking for - and can thus reject options which are obviously silly - then this is often the quickest way to search. Note that if you log in first before searching, your searches are captured in your account under My Executive Club, which allows you to quick search them again, perhaps modifying some details along the way. Sometimes, and depending on your Marketing Preferences, BA will send you an email to remind you a few hours later, with a hyperlink to a direct view of the potential booking. Note you also have the option of emailing yourself the BA quote, the hyperlink is useful to act as a springboard for refinements. There are actually several different search screens in BA.com so if you get IT problems you can try the main BA.com front page or My Executive Club page instead.

2.2) Multi-city
On BA.com by the main search area, above the From / To boxes, is a link to BA.com's Multi-city screen. You don't actually have to use it for a multi visit trip, you can even do it for just a point to point single trip. There are several big disadvantages, you can't mix cabins, and you don't get to see the fare until you have selected your trip, plus the system has a default connection time of 2 hours which is often well above the Minimum Connection Time. But if you know what you are doing and what the fare should be it can be quite quick to use. This module will also throw up some unusual routings too (e.g. London to Dublin via Newcastle), though they may well error on the pricing screen.

If you are trying to book a simple Destination Open Jaw, eg LHR-JFK on 01AUG and back BOS-LHR on 15AUG, You can start researching a quote for LHR-JFK return using the same dates. Make a note of the Flight on the LHR-JFK coming up cheapest. Then do a quote for LHR-BOS return using same dates. Make a note of the Flights on the BOS-LHR coming up cheapest. Now use the Multi City option and select the flights that came out cheapest from the previous two quotes. This way you should get the cheapest quote, but make sure in the above quotes you have selected the flights with the lowest higher cabin quote.

If you want to to upgrade one half of Multi City, then you could always call within 24 hours and ask for it to be upgraded.


2.3) Find Our Cheapest Flight
This is an important one. Whether a basic user or a power searcher, this is a very useful tool for finding the cheapest fare from London. This is how you will find it. Click on the Discover tab and then you will also see under Offers and Deals the relevant link,



This link then takes you to a useful listing, defaulting to 1 week in World / Euro Traveller (economy). Just scanning the list of cities is often very useful, but you can shortcut it by direct entry, so here I put in for Osaka in WTP for 5 nights.



It's fairly self explanatory, but there are a few downsides.
a) it is London centric, but see next section.
b) if you start going into the details of a fare you won't be able to go back very easily, you will have to start again
c) the database of fares shown is not real time, it's collected once a day and sometime fares that seem available do not show up when you get down into the details, the fare may have sold out.

The last one should not be confused with a slightly odd issue with the display of fares. So on shorthaul routes you may see a return fare shown as say £60 "each way". Then when you get to the details you then find the cheapest outbound is £72. However the return flight should then be shown as £48, and when you click through to the end the final fare may well be something like £119.32. This often confuses people, particularly if you start moving the return flight to another service, when the fare auto-adjusts to wildly different fares. The reason for this is to allow people to see cross referenced fares based on the first flight, and on the previous version of BA.com these would show on the same screen. Now however out and back are on two screens so unless you have a really good memory the logic behind this isn't very strong.

See 2.6 for the special case of weekend fares.

2.4 ) Find Our Cheapest Flight - non London
One disadvantage of the Find Our Cheapest Flight tool is that it is London centric. However there is a version which work from other locations, so you can start from say AMS instead - there is a post below about Third Country Itineraries. Here is the link for it, it is based on the Norwegian site, but you can use other locations as your start / end point.

https://www.britishairways.com/trave...tag=c&ban=

Here is an example for AMS to DXB, priced in Euros.



And here is the same example, same time from LHR to DXB, priced in Pounds Sterling.


This incidentally is an interesting comparison. Due to the heavy competition from London, fares to Dubai from the UK are actually quite competitive. But it is still cheaper from the Netherlands, the cheapest Amsterdam fare being £270, compared to £332 from London.

This process isn't entirely reliable, not only does it use a derived database, only a few key sectors are to be found, so if you look for 5 day trips to less renown locations, it may not come up with a result at all.

2.5) Using the App for searches
The above BA.com functions are also available on the App, and in some ways this can be faster than on the main site, since you can back-step more easily. On the main website if you go too far into a search, you can often only modify details by starting from the top, whereas on the App you can only just go Back a few times to modify the screen.

2.6) Weekend Same Day return.
It isn't well publicised but BA do offer special weekend same day returns from London to domesic cities and places in Europe. Dublin, Brussels, Amsterdam, Geneva are the obvious ones, but places like Lisbon also feature - basically any where the flight rotation allows you a few hours in the city concerned. Mainy available on Saturdays, they also appear on Sundays and Fridays occasionally, usually only for a few weeks in advance of the current date.

These are always in Basic fares, Euro Traveller, but they are open to POUGs (pro-active upgrades) and AUPs (airport upgrades) to Club Europe. See the BA Forum Dashboard for more information on paid upgrades. This isn't guaranteed however if a flight is offering a weekend day return it may well be sufficiently lightly loaded that BA wants a bit more of your money.

This is how to spot them. Use the Find Our Cheapest Flight as indicated in 2.4 above, however selected a return ticket with a Duration of "a day trip", the first entry. Here I'm using Brussels since that city often has good availability. Dublin too, away from sporting weekends and holidays.



Straight away you can see that the Saturday fare is consistently lower than the rest of the week, and also there is one Sunday with availability too. Sunday evening services are often busy for BA, hence they are not as good as Saturdays. If you then select one of these days, going for the cheapest morning flight and the cheapest afternoon flight, you will get something like this:


On the image above I clicked on the blue Flight Details line, and a pop up box appeared. And you will notice that the Selling Class is G - this is the special fare bucket for these weekend fares. G is also used for things like BA Holidays fares and they are not usually available for direct purchase, but this scenario is the exception.

There is a thread for weekend fares, see post 12 below.

2.7) Other areas of BA.com
Under BA.com's Discover / Offers and Deals area you will see things like Special Offers and Dream Tickets. Now these tend not to get a lot of focus on Flyertalk but once in a while, BA will slip something interesting into these screens, so it is worth a look. It's by no means the best area for finding a deal but it may just work for you.

Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; May 28, 19 at 3:41 pm
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Old May 27, 19, 5:03 am
  #3  
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3) More complex online tools to find fares
This section will give some pointers for where certain online tools can help you find a good fare. Now there isn't necessarily a free lunch here, these sites typically are trying to sell you something or other, and often the fares shown link through to their travel "partners". Moreover though they may show a number of these partners, they often are subsidiary companies of each other. So a healthy dose of sceptical thinking may be needed.

3a - Skyscanner
This is the one I use a lot, not least because it includes the low cost carriers too, which is sometimes useful. The initial search will be for all airlines, and then you can narrow down the output to just BA. The filter for oneworld flights is perhaps better and easier to find. Note that there is a one month view feature, however it is based on the site recording previous searches and may not be up to date.

3b - Kayak
Before Skyscanner impoved its website, Kayak was a good alternative and it still has a value. In some ways it has a better interface, but it is more likely to steer you to a consolidator company (see section below), it is more tied in to its travel partners than alternative airlines. Use the More tab to see BA's own fares. The area above the main fare provides information on baggage allowance.

Also Momondo is used by some Flyertalkers - it has a Custom: Build Your Own Ticket feature.
However see below about Consolidators, sometimes you are not looking at real availability, and some business practices in this area are questionable.

3c - FlightConnections.com
This website isn't so much about fares but gives guidance on who flies where and what connections may be needed. Nice maps! The main oneworld website also shows where BA and partners fly.

3d - Online travel agents
So here we mean Expedia, Opodo, Orbitz and so on - often referred to as OTA. They are sometimes easier to work with than BA.com but if you find a good fare from these places, it is worth calling BA to see if they can also find the same fare. The problem with OTAs is when there are problems! We regularly hear from other FTers who have found themselves struggling to get rebooked after (e.g.) cancelled services or flight time changes.

Note that Flyertalk has a Travel Tools forum, under Travel&Dining.
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Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; May 28, 19 at 3:40 pm
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Old May 27, 19, 5:04 am
  #4  
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4) How can I reduce the cost of my fare?

Some pointers:
- Check dates a few days either side of your preferred dates - some days can be more expensive than others
- If a fare seems really high, and you still have some time before travel, maybe leave it a day or two in case there is some IT fluke or abnormal selling pattern going on.
- Check different departures and arrival airports. Fares vary especially from different countries (e.g. Amsterdam vs Dusseldorf or Brussels). If flying from the UK, departing from Inverness or Jersey will often reduce the price because you do not have to pay APD, however some promotional fares may only be available from London with fare supplements if flying from regional airports. Also note that if you need to transfer between London airports, this will be at your own expense.
- Long haul fares are typically cheaper booked as return than as one way, and the cheapest fares often require a minimum number of nights on site or a Saturday night stay
- Many fares have to be booked a certain number of days before departure. If you see a fare you like but are hesitating for any reason, do check purchase conditions to make sure that it does not disappear overnight.
- Fares are not always cheaper during official "sales"
- Stopovers often force more expensive fares and sometimes additional flights or stops may force higher fares too. Even if you would like to stop somewhere en route or fly via certain airports, it is often best to first price a simple itinerary as direct as possible to assess how much those additional "complications" will cost you and whether this is a price you are willing to pay.
- If you intend to book an open jaw flight, the BA website will not show you the prices for the different options. It is usually a good idea to first look at itineraries as though they were return flights so that you can identify the flights on which the cheapest fares are available.
- If you live in the UK or USA, Amex and Chase respectively have cards which offer 2-4-1 companion vouchers, which allow two passengers to travel on BA metal redemptions for the same number of Avios as one passenger. Unfortunately you still have to pay two lots of taxes and carrier surcharges.
- Are you entitled to a discount on fares? If you are USA based it may be worth joining AARP for discounts on flights departing the USA on BA metal. UK serving armed forces, MOD staff and veterans can also get discounted fares via the Defence Discount Service. Some companies have negotiated staff discounts via BA. And if you know a BA staff member well, they may agree to sponsor you on their "Hotline" system.

- consider travelling midweek - Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally quiet days, particularly on routes with business travellers.
- don't book too soon: if you book a very long time ahead you won't necessarily get a good fare. People who book a long time in advance are typically less fare sensitive - e.g. if they have to get to a wedding on a given date. Moreover not all of BA's competitors issue tickets 355 days in advance as BA does. This is most noticeable out of Gatwick where easyJet typically offers a shorter booking window. However for dates where both BA and easyJet are competing on price, BA will be monitoring easyJet's fares closely.
- don't book too late either: As a very basic rule, and not always correct, fares can start to climb in the final 6 weeks before travel. There is no magic formula here, but booking 2 months out, with some date flexibility, often works well.

- Flexible and semi flexible tickets: If the fare you are looking at seems high, it may be worth paying a bit more still in order to get some sort of flexibility. This can come in two ways: either the refund conditions are reasonably generous; more likely it may be you can move the booking to a more distant date if a cheaper fare becomes available. You would end up with a pair of bookings but the overall cost per booking could be cost effective. This naturally works best if you are visiting the same place repeatedly.

- If you do have a regular route there are some particular things you can do. For example you can effectively base your tickets as if you lived in the destination. So if you fly from JFK to Europe regularly, you may want to slot in an Avios one way ticket, and then run a series of Europe to USA return bookings instead. Another option on European sector is to use Flight Pass tickets (see Links in section 12).

- Keep an eye on Avios redemptions. Just because it's not available on one day doesn't mean there will never be availability for your flight. You may want to consider buying a ticket which has some sort of flexibility to it (see above) should Avios come up, or to book a deliberately sub optimum Avios alternative and switch over if anything better crops up. Until 24 hours of the first sector on the booking Avios bookings can be refunded or amended for a change fee and you may want to consider that a small price to pay. You can also consider buying one direction Avios tickets, which will give you more flexibility but you have to do the maths since this can be more expensive overall.

- Keep an eye on redemptions even when it seems impossible! A number of us have noticed that notably on shorthaul, BA will still offer redemption tickets even on services which are nearly full and / or priced extortionately as revenue tickets. Even if a flight is running close to capacity there may well be Avios tickets available, particularly close to departure.

- Consider using Avios on revenue fares. You can normally use your Avios to reduce the cost of your ticket. Now there are at least two schools of thought here. Using Avios on revenue tickets is relatively poor value – generally half the value - compared to other uses such as Upgrade Using Avios or Reward Flight Savers. On the other hand you may regard Avios as a digital commodity with little intrinsic value. And this revenue ticket will bring some Avios back. About once a year BA has some promotion which improves the value of using Avios on revenue tickets.

- Remember you have 24 hours to cancel revenue and Avios tickets for a full refund and no charges. This does not apply to BA Holiday bookings, unless booked on the telephone in the UK (and various other exceptions elsewhere). So after booking a fare always check the next day to see if the same fare has fallen in price. If it has then you should have no hesitation in cancelling and rebooking. You may find it easier to do it via a telephone call - there shouldn't be a charge for this - but actually it can be done online if the cancelled ticket shows you a 100% refund on the screen. If you are within 24 hours of travel this feature doesn't apply.

- Not entirely free, but similar, there is a facility to hold your fare for 72 hours on most - but not all - sectors for a nominal fee. Your travel needs to be more than 21 days away. If you decide to go ahead with your booking then you pay the full amount to complete the transaction, and the fee gets automatically returned. You still get the ability to cancel for a full refund within 24 hours of paying that full amount (and get the fee back with it.....). The other useful aspect is that this is the only area of main revenue tickets where you can change the name of passenger after paying the fee and before -or rather during - final payment.

- If you are booking a trip, also consider turning it into a BA Holidays package by adding a hotel or car hire for your trip. This sometimes forces the fare into a lower hidden fare so that it may be cheaper than a normal cash fare. This is particularly true if you are in a premium cabin and not able to spend a Saturday night away. If you don't check-in to the hotel or collect the car then there is no further comeback. In the case of car hire, if you do pickup the car but change the collection or return to a different date from that booked then there may be extra charges, so be careful on that one.

One way or Single tickets
On longhaul services, one way, single tickets are often very expensive. This is what you can do about them.
- Consider using Avios / redemptions, which even in World Traveller can then become good value and often have good availability.
- Buy a return ticket. Not using the return has no implications, even Contact Centre staff may suggest you buy a return. However still book the most plausible date well in advance, you never know how things may turn up, and it may even be upgradeable to a higher cabin for a sensible price after the first leg has been taken.
- Consider alternative airlines which sell single sectors at more competitive prices, such as Iberia and Aer Lingus
- Look at the low cost IAG airline Level - you can use Avios on Level, but they have to go via the Iberia website, so you need to set up an Iberia+ account, credit something (e.g. a hotel stay) and after 90 days you can transfer Avios from BA to Iberia. BA household accounts won't be able to transfer however.
- Think more broadly. For example if you need a LON-SIN service, may be separately you need a KUL-DUB service several months later. You could buy a LHR-SIN//KUL-LHR service as an open jaw return instead. The gap between the two cities needs to be less than the other legs.

Codeshares
This are when BA sells tickets on other airlines, using its ticketing - or 125 plating as it is sometimes call. The plate concerned was the small metal plaque in the hand swiped carbon copy machines, since some travel agency would pick out and swap over plates between airlines. AA has the luxury of 001, Iberia 074. You will also see the flight described as "VY1123 Sold As BA8123" - so essentially a Vueling service for which BA can sell tickets.

It is rare that Codeshares are cheaper than bookings made on "Prime" (operator) flight numbers but it does sometimes happen. Vueling's cheapest fares, which are hand baggage only, are rarely more expensive than anything sold on BA, but occasionally BA will beat VY's checked baggage fare. The advantage of booking a codeshare is that it counts as an "eligible flight" - see below - and you will get BA's usually fairly generous Avios allocation, as well as Tier Points. If you are a Gold cardholder you can also use a BA operated lounge (but not a third party one) if you have a booking with a 125 plated, BA flight number. There are all sorts of other pitfalls and complications, so by all means ask questions about them below, or search in the BA forum using the word "codeshare".

BA and AA have codeshared for a long time, the fare aspect is fairly neutral on longhaul. BA also codeshare on Aer Lingus, Bangkok Air, Cathay, Qantas, Qatar, Loganair, JAL, Finnair, Iberia, and a few others. Codeshares involving oneworld airlines do get the full benefits such as lounges and baggage allowances.

Vueling currently sell a number of BA services from LGW under their own codes too. Examples include LGW-NAP and Spanish cities.
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Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; May 28, 19 at 3:48 pm
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Old May 27, 19, 5:04 am
  #5  
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5) Third Country Itineraries
This is one of the most discussed aspects of flying with BA. If you are flying from the UK to say Dubai (DXB), starting from London, you may find it significantly cheaper if you start from say Amsterdam instead. So you fly AMS-LHR-DXB instead of LHR-DXB and back, perhaps saving a large amount of money, even when you add in another flight to get to AMS. This is because when it comes to selling tickets to people in the Netherlands, BA is in a very different market to the market back in the UK, competing with different airlines, and if you are Dutch, flying to Dubai via London is less convenient than direct services from AMS to DXB. So BA prices its tickets very competitively as a result. You may get some extra Tier Points and Avios for the extra sectors, and in some cases the ticket is more flexible than the UK direct service - always check and save the final screen before payment.

Elsewhere in the forum you will see reference to ex-EU or ex Europe tickets, it's the same thing, however it's not confined to Europe. So if you live in Uruguay you may well find BA's indirect fares via Buenos Aires cheaper than direct codeshare services from Montevideo on Iberia.

Important factors - yes these itineraries can save a lot of money but:
- it is not always true. In some cases it is cheaper to start from London particularly if the end point has relatively few other services.
- you must take all the flights on the ticket, if not all the remaining sectors will be cancelled. So you can't buy AMS-LHR-DXB and start your trip at LHR, since your ticket will already be cancelled if you didn't show up in AMS.
- these itineraries are best used by those who go hand baggage only. If you want to check baggage into the hold, you need to be very careful about timing and sequence (more below)
- the hassle factor and extra risk of things going wrong means that these tickets aren't for everyone.
- the benefit of third country itineraries can apply to all cabins, but particularly Club World / business class and World Traveller / economy / coach. For First class and World Traveller Plus / premium economy the benefit can be less, due to reduced competition in a given market.

UK locations - Inverness and Jersey
These locations don't charge Air Passenger Duty (APD) for departures - subject to certain rules on timings. So for longer trips in World Traveller Plus and above, you can sometimes save a lot of money starting from there. This also applies to some Loganair departure locations in the Highland and Islands, however it is not always possible to find cost effective fares.

Back to Back
Back to back flights are a time efficient and risk mitigation method of getting to the start of your third country itinerary. So for example you are based in London and you have found a good fare for AMS-LHR-DXB, so you need to get to Amsterdam to start this trip. We would recommend you book a LHR-AMS seat on the same aircraft that makes the AMS-LHR sector, which typically arrives in AMS 50 minutes before AMS-LHR. Usually the flight numbers are in sequence too. See the main Back to Back thread for much more details, link in post 12. This only works if you are hand baggage only for those sectors (see next section). The risk mitigation relates to the natural but mistaken tendency to allow a few extra hours at AMS to make sure you are in time for the AMS-LHR sector. If your LON-AMS sector is cancelled or badly delayed, you could miss the start of your longhaul trip should that depart on time, and you could end up with a cancelled ticket. On a back to back this is much less likely, a delayed outbound is a delayed inbound.

Baggage considerations.
In the section above about back to back flights, we said it is best to do at least those sectors hand baggage only (HBO). And third country itineraries generally are easier to do that way. We also said allowing a few extra hours between flights on separate tickets adds to the risk. However it is also true that if you add in enough hours eventually you will both mitigate the risk and give you the chance to check in baggage too. So in the AMS-LHR-DXB example, if you fly to AMS the day before your main longhaul trip then you can check baggage in for the LHR-AMS service, recover the bags in AMS, spend the night in Amsterdam and finally check the bags in again the next day at AMS all the way through to Dubai. The cost of the hotel is a factor here, but hopefully you will still save a good sum of money overall, and you can make the night trip an added bonus to your trip rather than a chore.

Another thing you can consider is to do the LHR-AMS-LHR sectors hand baggage only, and then check-in bags just for LHR to Dubai. There are 3 main ways to do this:
- Book LHR-AMS-LHR for a separate date to LHR-DXB. So you just make a quick flit to Amsterdam separately, then later on do the LHR-DXB sector with checked bags. You will normally pay more for this, not least Air Passenger Duty, but you will perhaps save on hotel costs.
- Pay to store your bags in Excess Baggage, a baggage storage company that operates at LHR T3, T5 and LGW. Make sure you get the right terminal for the trip bearing in mind the terminals involved. Then after you arrive in LHR after AMS-LHR, recover your bags and check them on to Dubai. Clearly you need to allow enough time for this and there is a risk factor if your flight is delayed.
- Many FTers have been able to check their bags for the LHR-DXB sector before going to Amsterdam. It may be out of sequence, but generally BA’s system works for this. Select “Not Sure” when asked about the number of bags during Online Check-In. You do need to do this on the same day as the longhaul, you can only check bags the day before at LGW and EDI. And sometimes the computer throws a wobbly and won’t allow it. In which case the 2nd method above is your likely fallback.
There are a few other variation on the above, such as using a hotel in London to store bags, a car parked at the airport, Airpotr baggage service, the Sofitel check-in service, or getting a friend to bring your bags to the airport.

Dropping last sector
A frequently asked question is whether it is OK to drop the final sector. So you bought AMS-LHR-DXB and return. Can you drop the final LHR-AMS service rather than go through the hassle of that final short hop? I will only advocate that you complete all trips as booked (and enjoy a few extra Avios and Tier Points). And if you booked via a travel agency or via corporate travel you must do this to avoid your agency or company being fined.

If you have checked baggage it is also extra hassle too, since in Dubai your bag will be labelled to Amsterdam, not London. Finally BA’s Conditions of Carriage give BA the theoretical right to reprice your ticket if you drop the final leg or to close your BAEC account. However in reality if you don’t make a habit of it, yes you can drop the final leg and you are unlikely to dragged off to Belmarsh Prison. For baggage, if you booked the return as DXB-LHR/LGW-AMS, so with a nominal switch from Heathrow to Gatwick to get to Amsterdam, then your bags will be returned in Heathrow since there is no way to transfer bags across airports. Ditto LCY and STN.


Other pointers
(taken from recent real examples)

- Remember that even if going "from" a different place than your ideal departure point may save you money, things may be different for your flight back, and it is usually possible to build open jaw (or even double open jaw, as per example no. 2 below) itineraries at no extra cost either to/from different UK airports or to/from different continental European airports as in the following examples below:

Example 1, open jaw. You are really flying from London to New York however going from Inverness is cheaper. However, returning into London may be possible at no extra cost. Best convenience/cost combination: (make your own way to Inverness by plane, then) outbound INV-JFK, return JFK-LHR

Example 2, double open jaw: You are really flying from Nice to Singapore and back from Kuala Lumpur. Flights between Milan and Singapore are on sale but not from Nice, however, flights from Kuala Lumpur are cheaper to Nice than to Rome. Best convenience/cost combination: (Make your way to Milan by train then) outbound: LIN-SIN, return KUL-NCE

Links
See post 12 below.

Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; May 28, 19 at 2:48 pm
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Old May 27, 19, 5:05 am
  #6  
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6) Google Flights

(With thanks to wilsnunn - draft version).

Google Flights is the main flight search engine provided by Google, and can be a very useful way to find cheap fares quickly and as a starting point for more advanced searches using ITA Matrix (see post 7). Google Flights is relatively intuitive so this is just a short overview.

Google Flights has two different methods for searching for flights:
===
1) A standard search for flights from AAA to BBB on given dates. Here you can pick from return flights, one way flights or multi city flights (up to 6 individual flights). Google Flights allows you to filter your results by airline or alliance and offers some, but by no means all, of the basic functionality provided by ITA Matrix without the advanced tools that are useful to many FlyerTalk forum users. Such filters include price, number of stops (note that it is not possible to set a minimum number of stops) and departure/landing times.



In my opinion, the following are some of the most useful features of Google Flights and are the reason why I normally head there before heading over to ITA Matrix when I am searching for flights.

a) In the departure and arrival airport fields you can enter up to 5 airports/cities. Unlike ITA Matrix, the 5 airports/cities in the departure airport box need not all be in the same country.
b) Flicking through a calendar of the whole year. If you are looking for a cheap weekend stay at a specific location (e.g. for a cheap Short Haul Plus route for 80TPs each way) you can set the calendar to show prices for “2 day trips” and explore the whole calendar two months at a time.



c) Date grid. This offers the ability to see fares for your proposed flight dates +/- 3 days either side.



d) Price guidelines. Google Flights will sometimes give an indication of how the current flight prices for your flights compare to normal.



e) Price tracking. If you have a particular route and dates in mind, you can use Google Flights to track prices and you will receive an email alert when there has been a change in price.

====

2) A general search is the second method, where you can view a map of low fares for either given dates or the cheapest weekend, week long or 2 week flights within the next 6 months. Note that here you cannot pick a specific airline but are still able to specify the alliance. This functionality is great if you are looking for a weekend away (either fixed or flexible dates) with no specific location and more of a budget in mind.

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Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; May 27, 19 at 2:23 pm
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Old May 27, 19, 5:06 am
  #7  
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7) ITA Matrix

ITA Matrix is a Google owned platform which is a really useful tool for finding a fare. I used it probably daily. Now this is just an introduction, since there is a proper forum in Flyertalk for Travel Tools, and that forum has several active threads in it giving useful advice. It doesn't make sense to duplicate it all here. However here is a screen shot, where I have asked ITA Matrix to show me the fares in Business Class for oneworld flights from Amsterdam and Rotterdam to Dubai on some given date ranges. You can tailor this screen in all sorts of ways, for example making it BA only, but this is just to get you started. You need to click on Advance Controls to get access to steer towards specific airlines or routes.

https://matrix.itasoftware.com/



If you are new to ITA, I would perhaps enter the above information first, see the results and then edit the query to suit your circumstances. If your dates are totally fixed then use Select Exact Dates. ITA isn't foolproof, but the more precise your query, the better chance it has of finding your best fare. For the departure line you can put in multiple start points but they must be in the same country. For the destination there is no such restriction, but if you set the query too broad it's more likely ITA will miss something.

Best search locations in Europe for Third Country Itineraries
From a BA perspective the following locations should be considered
LON, INV, JER
DUB, MXP, FCO, PMI, BCN, MRS, NCE, DUS, TXL, AMS, LUX, BRU, OSL, CPH, ARN, GOT, HEL, LIS.

A lot will depend on the local market conditions, so LIS may be useful if BA is competing on TAP's routes, such as to Brazil.
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Old May 27, 19, 5:06 am
  #8  
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8) Using tools like Expert Flyer

On the BA forum (and elsewhere) you will often see reference to ExpertFlyer. This is an App and desktop application which has a wealth of details on flights and related information. Though some EF services can be used free of charge, the meaty aspects of the product are unlocked via a paid subscription. This including information on available selling classes, also know as fare buckets. This is just a short overview, you will find more about this in Flyertalk's dedicated forum for Travel Tools (you will find it under Travel&Dining), and that includes a help desk thread.

EF can help in several ways to get a better fare
- It shows if particular fare buckets are still on sale.
- It allows you to query which days/flights have availability in a particular fare bucket(s).
- It has a copy of the fare rules and their conditions
- It allows querying by fare rule and / or selling class

So for example the cheapest WTP fare is T, the most expensive W, and the E fare class sits between these groups. If you want a good WTP fare, you are probably most interested in days where the availability table says T9 for your flights. You then can check the T fares available, their cost and conditions. For example you may want to find the lowest T fare but one that still allows stopover

Here are some example screens. The first shows the availability in particular fare classes (buckets).


And this shows the fare options available in Club World on a particular pair of dates, much more detail including the entire fare rules can be found by clicking on any particular fare line here.



KVS Availability Tool is alternative product, which also has a fee attached. It has similar features to EF, but some people prefer its redemption search features.
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Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; May 28, 19 at 2:50 pm
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Old May 27, 19, 5:07 am
  #9  
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9) Eligible Flight suggestions

You will find a sticky about "Your Guide to the Executive Club" on the front page of the forum, and in it you will find the details about qualifying for status within BAEC. In essence you will need to make 2 or 4 "eligible" flights and a certain number of Tier Points. The sticky has the full details, but in summary you will need to fly revenue, not redemption on
- a BA flight operated by BA
- a BA codeshare (so perhaps flying on Aer Lingus but under a ticket "Sold As" BAnnnn, with a BA flight number)
- an IB flight, operated by IB, IB codeshares won't count here though.
That includes BA Cityflyer and BA's South African services, temporary wet leases such as Titan, Air Belgium, and IB's domestic providers Nostrum and those Binter services which are only sold by Iberia.

Here are some ideas how to do this cheaply:
- LGW domestics - BA fly to Jersey, Edinburgh and Glasgow out of Gatwick, competing against easyJet. So sometimes these fares are relatively inexpensive. You may even find a back to back service which is cheaper in both directions and thus can be done in around 3 hours for 2 eligible flights.
- Other LGW services: look out for prices to AMS, GVA, FCO (Rome), BGY (Bergamo) and Spanish locations, some of these can be done cheaply, either back to back or you may want to have a day or two in these locations.
- LHR options - domestic flights are usually more expensive than LGW but NCL, EDI, and GLA are easy options. Also look at off peak fares to LUX, AMS, BRU, DUS, CPH, AGP, DUB. And day returns too (see post 2 above).
- Loganair codeshares: BA sell tickets that include codeshares with Loganair. You may find this a cost effective way to get 4 flights (e.g. LHR-GLA-SYY and back). Just make sure it is a codeshare since BA.com also sells under Loganair own flight numbers too.
- Aer Lingus and other codeshares: NCL-LHR-ORK and back would be 4 eligible flights, if sold under BA flight numbers.
- Iberia metal within Spain - Spanish domestic service such as PMI to BCN can be very inexpensive.
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Old May 27, 19, 5:08 am
  #10  
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10) Tier Point pointers

"I am 70 tier points short of renewing Silver, what is the cheapest way to get those tier points?"
This is not an unusual question in this forum, but it is particularly difficult to answer without writing a novel the length of "War and Peace", though perhaps "ņ la recherche du temps perdu" is a more appropriate analogy. It depends where you live, when you can travel, what your budget is and countless other factors. But hopefully the following will at least get you a start point.

Tier Point quick pointers
- Above all, look at the wiki and at the start of the Tier Point thread (link in post 12). This has a huge resource of ideas there
- Also check the last page or two of that thread for anything recent that is under consideration. Itís a fast moving thread so things change rapidly
- Be aware that BA will give a 2 week extension to retain Bronze, Silver and Gold status - but not GGL or CCR or to gain higher than your current status. So if you are a few TPs short but have a flight(s) no more than 14 days after the tier point collection date (the one that is the 8th day of the month) then BA will add these in to take you over the line. Just call BAEC after, not before, the flights show in your account.
- See the eligible flights section above for ideas.
- Use the Find Our Lowest Fares particularly for Club Europe fares Ė see post 2.
- Many Club Europe fares have a Saturday night or 3 night minimum stay rule. Maybe this gives you a good excuse for a quick trip somewhere nice, but alternatively you can ďnest faresĒ. E.g you buy a LHR-AMS-LHR going Friday back Monday. You could also buy separately an AMS-LHR-AMS service, for the same dates, ideally going back to back. Just be careful with dates, times and flight numbers.
- Domestic flights donít have a Saturday Night Rule for Club Europe. Nor do some LGW services.
- If you need to take several flights to reach your goal, then if you book EuroTraveller on flights which are not too full then you have a good chance of being offered a POUG upgrade to Club Europe on at least some sectors. See the POUG guide in the Forum Dashboard.
- If you have a trip planned already, consider doing a TP run in the visited country (e.g. AA domestic services).
- If you really need something quick, check out LGW-EDI-LGW in Club Europe; Alternatively LHR-LUX-LHR with a Saturday night stay, ditto DUB, AMS, BRU, CPH, DUS, Rome, Milan, Spanish resorts.
- Have a general look around the forum and Flyertalk to see ideas. Itís quite normal for FTers to mention TP runs in other posts, including, for example, the Trip Report forum.
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Old May 27, 19, 5:08 am
  #11  
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11) Consolidators and their pitfalls / Best Price Guarantee

There are a number of travel providers who are effectively consolidators - they buy blocks of travel options and then sell them on, and usually below the price you will see on BA.com. These can be very good value for money, but they also have a number of pitfalls, and a wise customer will enter into this market aware of these difficulties.

The biggest pitfall is that if BA cancels a service, or retimes it such that connections are missed, or anything that goes wrong, it can be incredibly difficult to get the agency to come up with viable alternatives. You have the legal right to be rebooked, but there is no money in it for the agency and they are often ill-prepared for it. If all else fails, wait until 24 hours before departure since BA can then seize the booking and provide remedies.

Also when you book it may be that the agency will alter your booking in order to fill their quotas. So you may book a particular flight, pay the fare then 2 days later the agency tells you that they have placed you on another flight altogether, typically earlier or later the same day. Mostly the agents make it clear that this may happen, and you usually can get a refund if you cancel at this point, but this is the source of complaints about "bait and switch". You also need to consider the financial health of the company concerned, so I would advise booking with a credit or debit card which will refund you should the agency go bankrupt. If the agency has issued you with an e-ticket, then that will normally work after the agency's bankruptcy, but it become problematic if you want to change the flight.

We are not recommending these companies but some FTers have used the following without significant issue
Travelup
Travel Trolley

Best Price Guarantee
BA does offer a best price guarantee that should you find an alternative provider of the same flights for less money then they will refund you twice the difference in e-vouchers up to a cap of £200 for the doubled amount. If the claim is more than £200 anyway then there is no doubling up but the original amount should still be paid. See post 12 for links to this, but note once you make a booking with the e-voucher, even if for just a part of the booking, you can’t make a further claim for the Guarantee on that booking
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Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; May 28, 19 at 3:47 pm
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Old May 27, 19, 5:09 am
  #12  
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12) Over to you

Hopefully you have read at least some of the above, and have found it useful. This thread is here to help you find a good British Airways fare, or at least on a BA partner bookable via BA.com, the App or Contact Centre. And we would encourage you to place questions here, and maybe an expert will come along and give you some tips, or confirm that actually you have got a good fare.

However
- This is essentially for BA / BA codeshares and partner only. If your booking is essentially on Qatar, Qantas, AA or anyone else, please go to those forums and pursue the matter there. These forums have good subject matter experts to hand.
- Please avoid very vague questions. Specific questions get specific answers. Give exact dates, start point, end point, what flexibility you have.
- As a courtesy to the other forum members, please at least read some of the advice in the posts above, and find one fare as a start point. It's a lot easier to provide constructive feedback that way.


Links
And before closing the lead posts of this thread, here are some useful links in the BA forum and elsewhere. Now the reason we have put them all here is that many are very fast moving threads and therefore get annually refreshed. If there are dead links here, please press the red triangle on the lower left, however in January we're probably working on it. The better route in for many of these threads is therefore via the BA Forum Dashboard, which is the main knowledge board of this forum

- TP thread
BA Tier Point Runs | 2019 master thread
Now some advice about this: the usual users of this thread can be fairly hardcore TP runners, and not all the ideas presented are sensible or viable. You best have a look at the wiki at the top of the thread, the first few posts 1 to 8, and also the last two dozen or so posts to see what deals are live at the moment. Some of the older posts may have expired in terms of validity. By all means ask questions in that thread, but if you haven't done at least some homework first you may well be invited so to do.

- Premium Fare thread
Premium Fare Deals | 2019 edition
This is mainly for limited publicity sale fares, one off opportunities, fare mistakes and so on.

- BA Sales thread
When is the next BA sale?
This give guidance on BA's regular sequence of sales, which affect both revenue and BA Holidays bookings. Note, however, that on a particular route or flight a sale fare may not be cheaper than out of sale periods, and also that not all sectors are covered by every sale anyway.

- B2B thread
Back-to-back / Immediate Turnarounds at BA Destinations
This thread gives a lot of information on where to do back to back travel, to take advantage of third country itineraries, particularly in Europe.

- Weekend day returns
Weekend day trip fares

- Best Price Guarantee
BA Best Price Guarantee...

- Avios searching (third party provider)
www.rewardflightfinder.com

Other forums on FT:
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/mileage-run-deals-372/
Note the two sub forums below. This can be a fast moving forum when a mistake fare comes up, they don't always survive to viable bookings.

Helpdesk threads hosted elsewhere on FlyerTalk:

American Airlines and other oneworld carriers [hosted in the Mileage Run Deals forum]
The following thread is a dedicated helpdesk facilitating fare requests for travel on oneworld carriers
AA/One World: 2019 Consolidated Mileage/Status/Challenge Runs help needed

Qatar Airways [hosted in the Qatar Airways | Privilege Club forum]
QR runs promotional fare deals throughout the year including irregular flash sales with very short booking windows and announced at very short notice. These can be very tricky to spot but fortunately the QR forum hosts a couple of great threads where members help each other out by highlighting these deals as they materialise and sharing discount codes
Sale Fares Discussion
Sale Fares Pricing ONLY
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Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; May 28, 19 at 3:31 pm
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Old May 27, 19, 5:18 am
  #13  
 
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Great idea.

Will definitely find use use in this.
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Old May 27, 19, 5:23 am
  #14  
 
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Very good information. As Vueling gets bigger at LGW, do we need to mention BA codeshares on Vueling operated aircraft.
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Old May 27, 19, 5:28 am
  #15  
 
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Thank you for creating this thread.

It looks like it is off to a "flying" start with lots of good info!
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