Once I have my schedule, I check kayak.com from various points in France, Germany, Italy and Belguim – I recall it was Senator who also suggested Sweden. Tel Aviv works, but 4 1/2 hours is too far to start an ex Europe ticket for me. Then I try to book via ba.com as it affords me a little more protection in terms of buying a ticket directly from the airline rather than a thrid party.
The only time a delay will cause a problem, is my first flight out of Heathrow to Europe. I cover this by:
1. always flying back from Europe (start of new ticket) on the same aircraft, i.e. the returning outbound.
2. try where possible to use European airports, outside the influence of the Americans, i.e. where you exit directly into boarding area, therefore not having to go landside to return airside. Otherwise I use airports which have transit facilties otherwise, I run………….
3. If the first European flight is cancelled, such as happened in December in the snow, BA understood that it was physically impossible to use that first ticket and will change it out of sequence, after all I have paid for 4 sectors. When this did happen, the UK ticket office were being difficult, but the American office could not have been nicer changed the sector to an open sector and in that instance I used the first sector as an open Lon – Europe ticket.
Incidentally, BA did not deny me boarding when the first sector was cancelled.
4. Certainly not wishing to tempt fate, but I have never missed a sector due to a delay ot security Q.
Just a comment to Sparepocket, I know of other systems, for example a grey market in airmiles which can reduce ticket prices further. I stay well away from these sorts of tickets as there is a big question over the legality of selling airmiles.
When I was previously using a travel agent in Germany, BA did take exception to my ex-Europe travel and arranged with the travel agent, not to supply me with any further ex-Europe tickets, but I took a legal opinion, (from a friend) who at the time advised that common market = open trade borders and resrticting ticket sales based in residency was extremely questionable. Now though, most, if not all, all ex Europe ticket prices are loaded onto ba.com and they can be bought using UK credit cards.
Hope this helps.