In answer to the questions and queries about managing your bags, when using ex-Europe tickets on BA long haul, I am happy to share my protocol.
All boarding cards for the 3 flights I am taking on my travel day are printed out the night before. On the morning of my trip, I head for T3 to check my bag in for the evening’s BA longhaul flight. I enter the system in T3, head for the BA lounge and have breakfast. 90 minutes before the first sector to Europe (which is the last sector of my previous ticket) I use flight connections, to transfer to T5, having left my hand luggage with left luggage in the lounge, who are OK with this, as they have seen my boarding pass for that evenings flight.
I do hold an airside pass for BAA airports and on the basis that I do not ever want to be caught playing the system causing my pass to be withdrawn (especially when travelling as a passenger), I have checked with both BAA security and British Airways, who both have confirmed that I am able to enter the system in T3, even though my first flight of the day is from T5. The explanation being that a boarding card allows airside access on the day of departure into the relevant terminal. To further cover myself, I have both boarding cards in my hand to show the security staff in case any rules have changed. Before anybody asks, I do not carry my airport pass when travelling as a passenger.
I fly to Europe to close my previous ticket and start my new ticket on the same aircraft, back to London. There is generally at least one crew member who is returning with the aircraft from the outbound flight and I always mention to them, that I will be returning, but I have never had a time issue, mainly because these 2 sectors are being flown without any hand baggage except for a mobile and iPAD or Samsung tablet.
On arrival into London, reverse, back through flight connections and straight back to the superb lounge facilities in T3.
Before I return from Asia, I change the final sector of my ticket, from Lon back to my European starting point, which can be a hassle and does sometimes cost £20-£30 for admin/tax/duty etc.
At the airport, I specifically make sure my bag is only checked through to London. There are some occasions when I do go straight over to Europe to complete the ticket and back to London, in which case I will ask for my bag to be offloaded in London and I will leave it in left luggage, landside, before flying the final sector(s).
I do recognise the hassle factor but when I am saving at least £1500 per trip when using ex-Europe BA fares and the fact I am doing this up to 10 times a year, it makes perfectly good sense to me. Other advantages are that the ex-Europe fares are flexible as oppose to the rigidity of the London based cheaper fares and I also accumulate more BA miles to be used quicker either on BA or partner airlines. I work on the basis that 1 in every 4 long haul flights becomes a reward flight using One World (not all my reward flights are with BA, but when the ticket is free and in business/first, who cares)?
I also have the added advantage that my UK home is close to Heathrow; I have a totally paperless office system and can work with a blackberry and iPAD or Samsung from anywhere. I often use the larger BA lounges for private meetings and having worked like this for over 7 years, I have the system down to a fine art and it works very efficiently for me.
“ba.com Pricing madness” – is it?
If you are a corporate or big name TV star (or even a “has been”, big name TV star, who possibly is deluded they are still a BIG name TV star) where cost isn’t a priority ex-Europe fares will never be attractive. If however, you can benefit from the price madness, by using the system to your advantage, in a perfectly legal and effective manner, then overall, it really isn’t the madness it’s made out to be!!
The world of aviation pricing, can indeed be a strange strange place…………..