Mrs Ericle & I, having been invited to a wedding in Nice on June 28th, decided to turn the Happy Event into an extended break in the area. Accordingly, a British Airways return ticket was purchased departing Blighty on June 19th & returning July 1st.  Cost: £127 per ticket.  Unfortunately we had overlooked The Favourite Daughter’s graduation, which it transpired is to take place on June 27th.  The logistics of all this now required us to depart late on June 27th or early on June 28th. BA informed us that the cost to make the change would be around £300!  (I can’t now remember the precise figure quoted).  I then naturally opted to seek a cheaper solution and discovered that I could simply buy 2 seats on the June 28th BA flight from London City Airport to Nice for £115 per ticket – not the cheapest of tickets, but very convenient and less than the figure quoted to effect a ticket change.

So it was all sorted: fly out on our new ticket and use the return ticket of our original booking to fly home on July 1st.  Wrong! Mentioning these shenanigans to a frequently-flying friend over dinner on Saturday, he warned me that BA could cancel our original ticket if we didn’t fly out on June 19th. A call to BA yesterday confirmed this. Furthermore they informed me that to simply cancel out of the 19th flight, in order to use the July 1st return leg, would involve a £180 fee. Fortunately EasyJet are having a ‘Seat Sale’ currently and I managed to purchase tickets from Nice on July 1st for £37 each, (+£14 for hold baggage). A no-brainer. I also receive back the princely sum of £84 from BA for the original ticket – now fully unused.

Putting the higher mathematics aside, why should one pay for a ‘whole something and be penalised for just using a part of it? “Sorry mate, it’s £5 more to not finish your fish-and-chips”!  And what could BA do if the un-required part of our return flight had been the return leg? No wonder BA is being eaten alive by lo-cost carriers, if this is an example of how they operate in the modern Open Skies environment. British Airways, you’re having a larf …

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2 Responses to BA Maths: 2 – 1 = 0

  1. Eric, it’s been like that ever since I was a travel agent, used to be that one way tickets in either direction cost a fortune so I used to buy a return and just use them outbound sometimes – depending on what my other travel arrangements were. Used to work well if you flew into one city and flew out if another city, which in airline could fathom, they called it an open jaw ticket. God forbid someone would not want to stay in one place for two weeks and move around a bit, and fly back from where you are. Don’t get me started. The little bits of aggravation of booking a trip from the US and the challenge of getting a phone I bring with me to work when I arrive in London is unbelievable in the days of globalization.

  2. Ericle says:

    That’s my point, Juliette, these sorts of practices existed pre-Open Skies. it was questionable and restrictive then, but i can’t understand why and how a company can operate such commercial practices today.

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